Three major things differentiate ‘Israel Railways’ from most of the modern world:
– The train still uses diesel fuel.
– The train suffers constantly from malfunctions, accidents and worker strikes.
– The service is offered only 5.5 days a week. No trains in the weekends.
Those with sharp observation skills may come up with theories that connect all of the above. The second item, for example, may represent a divine punishment for the third one. Joking aside, public transportation in the modern state of Israel is far from being modern. It represents a combination of poor planning, hypocrisy, and political abuse.
Poor planning, because my mother in law cannot visit her grandchildren in the weekend. Yes, she can take a taxi, as some religious wise asses mentioned to me one day. Come to think of it, she can rent a private bus or a muscular person with long distance running skills to carry her. There are many other theoretical solutions I’m sure you can think of.
Even poorer planning, because I cannot give up my private car, even if I plan never to leave Tel Aviv. How on earth will I be able to go to places on Saturday? Don’t tell me. I can take a taxi.
Hypocrisy – because those who enforce this ridiculous situation would not use trains and busses anyway, on weekends. They don’t care about themselves. They care about me. And my mother in law. In some lucky places in Israel there are some remains of public transportation during the weekend. No heavenly lightning has yet interfered with that service, and not a single religious person has been forced to do anything against their will.
Even more hypocrisy, because young people who have good time on Friday evenings find themselves without affordable means of going back home. So they drive back home, which is one of the main reasons for weekend accidents. Religion is very keen on saving lives, but not when it comes to busses on Friday evening. Taxis are more acceptable by the Orthodox Jewish God.
And political abuse, because this whole saga is a result of secular parliament members fighting for their seats. They, of course, don’t typically need the public busses on Saturday. They visit their grandchildren with the cars I pay for, with my income tax.