Photo by: Tim Walker-www.flickr.com
We decided to make change in our lives. Open vistas, the lack of pollution, less traffic, less people, nature as yet unspoiled and the proximity of family all enticed us northwards. The paths of life have led us to a number of places. Until now such basic matters as telephone and, in later years, computer and television connections never presented a problem even in a small Scottish off the beaten track location. Here we are in Israel, one of the world leaders in hi-tec and communication companies, and all we had to do was to move to an established moshav to a rented house where the previous renters had had a telephone connection plus ADSL for their computer. Sounds simple – right? Being a responsible person I contacted Bezeq to inform them of the intended move a fortnight before removal day. And there the story began.
Once upon a weekday I dialed 199 and eventually a young lady replied. I explained our requirements; she requested the present number used by the occupiers as she found no record of the phone under the name of the house owner. Two phone calls later I returned to her with the information. "Oh no," I was told, "you will need a technician and as it is just before Passover we won't be able to send anybody till April 12th."
"April 12th!" I exclaimed, "How can we be without a phone and our computer for that length of time?"
"Sorry, you will have to manage."
"But there's a phone connection and also a computer in the house – what is the problem to reconnect?"
No explanation was forthcoming – just a cool request to note the date and give my cell phone number so that the technician would be able to get instructions to find the house. How strange, I thought, would the established connection simply disappear?
I telephoned the house owner and he promised to attend to the problem. After which he told us he had spoken to Bezeq. On March 30th as we left our home I called Bezeq to close our existing account and to request they check that an immediate connection be made for us at the new place of residence. No such luck. More phone calls to owner and ex-renter. More hanging on for Bezeq to answer. A sexy voiced recording repeats continuously in Hebrew "We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience." “What patience?” I shout down the receiver. Of course there is nobody there to hear me. The packers have packed. It is Friday and they want to get on the road. We have to leave. I unplug the telephone and put it in the car with us. On the way I use my cell phone to call Bezeq and explain to Amit who answers me with the usual reply re April 12th and the technician.
Eventually we arrive. The house owner greets us waving a form from Bezeq to be filled in and faxed. Done – he will fax it when he gets home. I plug in our phone – and there is a line. I phone 166 to thank them and get the number we should use. Benny, who answers me, asks "Who are you? This lines belongs to a Mrs. –" He gives me the name of the departed renters. "You can't use it." But I am using it and I try to explain my understanding that if there is a line we should just be able to get a different number. Not possible, he explains, you will need the technician – however the line still remains active and with us.
Sunday – I contact Bezeq to see what is happening; this time I speak to Assaf. We go through the story again – "We have a phone line, I am speaking to you on it, all we need is the ADSL to be put into action again." I speak of frustration and try humor by offering to share my bottle of whisky. He laughs but cannot help. In desperation I ask for the most senior person around – I get Miri. Bless her. She understands. "But," she says, "You will have to get another number."
"But that is all I want plus the computer to be put online."
"Right, I'll get back to you."
I open the bottle of whisky and pour myself a still one even though it is only ten o'clock in the morning. The phone rings, "Shalom, Shimrit from Bezeq calling regarding your phone connection. We are giving you this number." I note it down and tell her I want to award her with a hug, Miri too. The whisky is working and as I hang us the phone I am thinking that by now I must be acquainted with the majority of the staff. I dial Barak, our online server, to inform them of the change of number, I am asked to hold for a minute, background music, more music, voice again – "that number belongs to such and such a factory…" In shock I took no notice of the name. "No it does not," I snap. "Bezeq gave it to me! Dial it and see." I bang down the receiver and sure enough a few seconds later I get the Barak gal on the line – she explains: "They must just have made the change; it can take about 24 hours to be fully processed." She was right; we did have some hiccups with the phone-line going on and off until it got used to belonging to us. At midnight our sleep is shattered by the phone ringing; an hour at which one answers with trepidation. Somebody tries to send a fax; however, as we do not have a fax it could only be for the factory. This happened several times but I simply couldn't be bothered to phone Bezeq yet again to complain.
Early on April 12th my cell phone rings. "This is Sephie from Bezeq – how does the technician get to your house?"
"To install your phone connection"
"But we are connected!"
I go through the story; she promises to look into it and phone me back. An hour later she does; after profuse apologies for the misunderstanding she informs me that Bezeq is awarding me 500 units in compensation. We'll see when the bill arrives.