The Sign of the Times

I said the next posts about what’s been going on here are going to get weirder, right, Wilson? Let’s get started on that. So you now know I am stuck in Amman, Jordan getting the bureacratic runaround about entering Israel. In fact, you’ve just learned that psychedelic event number one involves a lawyer wanting to charge me five thousand dollars to drop off an application for entry with the Ministry of the Interior. However, lawyers charging too much and bureaucrats banning people from entering a country because they want to help the country and giving all kinds of senseless and confused information isn’t exactly miraculous. This kind of thing happens. But things are starting to build. I want to tell you about the next link in the chain.

So, I do have a few friends scattered around Israel. None of them in Jerusalem, though. Jerusalem is where my course is, and where all of the relevant offices I would need to deal with would be. And I only have a few friends. And most of them aren’t really very colose friends. If I can consider any of them close friends. Frankly, Wilson, I don’t want to bug them. But I don’t want to bug them not only because they don’t have a lot of resources, they aren’t super close, and they aren’t in Jerusalem. I don’t want to bug them, at least yet, because I want to get a sense of how Israel treats strangers. We already know the Border Control doesn’t do too well with strangers. We know the consulate in Mexico City doesn’t treat strangers very well. But I want to get a sense of some other sectors of Israel as well. So I am asking people for help and seeing who helps.

Yeah, I know I won’t asking everyone in Israel, or even very many people, so I can’t take the results of those I ask as a scientific measurement of what Israel is like. I can, though, ask a variety of sources and gain an anecdotal impression based on my personal experience. That is, one guy may go on vacation to the UK and everybody he meets is cool to him and buys him beers, while another guy may go to the UK and nobody has any time from him and everybody tries to get money off him. The two will go back to their homelands with messages of “the UK is awesome!” or “the UK sucks!” In fact, several people will actually have their impression of the UK formed by such anecdotal experience. They’ll likely never go to the UK and have experiences on their own, and they’ll likely never actually research the UK and how it treats tourists. If they do, that research will also contain its own biases. But for most, anyway, “the brits always try to get money off you” will become truth because that’s what Bob told them from his own personal experience.

That in itself is kind of scary. Lots and lots of people have very poorly informed opinions about very, very many things. But for me, there is one more thing to consider. I’m on a mission from God.

I’ve asked God to show me the condition of Israel. I have faith that God has made Israel a significant thing for me for a significant reason. I also trust that my life and, in fact, all of human history is a story written by God with the purpose of informing those willing to read it concerning the truth of things.

Now the Torah makes reference in many places to the treatment of the orphan, the widow, and the stranger. The orphan represents the child with no parents to take care of him. The widow represents the woman with no husband to take care of her. The stranger represents the man with no tribe to take care of him. In this instance, in my current phase of life, I am the stranger. Before asking for help from my friends, I want to ask some strangers for help. I want to get a sense of the love for the stranger in the Holy Land.

Now I am not just going to ask for help. I am not rich, but I do have a wage, and I do have free time, and while I am not the most capable person in the world, I am not a complete idiot. So I am going to ask some people for help along with volunteering to work for them if they help me. Or, I will let some people know that I am wanting to work for them for free, out of ideological commitment, and along with that let them know I am in Jordan, and I could use some help getting into the country.

Now you know I hate injustice, Wilson, and you can tell from my book and very many blog posts, I love telling the truth to the degree that I am willing to say unflattering things about people. Usually strangers or enemies, as is the cae with most people, though I am willing to do this sort of thing with people with whom I am involved, of whom I think highly, etc. I’ve accepted a lot of criticism in life, and I hope those around me can do the same. So I have called consulars and border agents servants of Satan. Yeah, I mix genuine spirituality with literary flare to describe events in my stories. In fact, I illustrated in fair detail at one point how my own dear mother was abetting the forces of darkness. I love my mother more than anyone in the world. Well, she is in the top five along with my dad, stepdad, daughter, Fire Girl, Chloe…okay so top six. But you get the point. I also really like collecting information.

I think these things would make me a pretty good journalist. However, I’ve been writing in my wild and crazy way for so long, I would kind of want a helping hand to funnel my writing style into one that would be more appropriate for a journalist that would reach target audiences in intended ways for maximum, positive effect.

Further, I have this story going on right now about not being able to get into Israel. Sure, I can blog about it and point out every demon that turns up. In fact, I will. That’s what I am doing. But I was wondering if I could actually make this into a series of columns for a news publication. I would certainly need some help with that.

So, I contacted the Times of Israel with two things in mind. First, I wanted to see if anyone there wanted to follow my story, and second, I wanted to ask about some kind of internship. In the end, I am not seeking to continue writing further editorials for the Times of Israel, at least at this moment, and I am not going to be an intern for them, and no one there will be covering my story. Not to say I could never be a journalist for them or someone else, but it’s not going to happen right now. This in itself is not unusual. It did not happen between me and the Times, but you’d think someone wanting to do journalism would have to apply at a few places, get something going, etc. But in this case, the way everything rolled out was just weird. Violations of the law of probability. Just like with the lawyer, something happened that was quite normal. A guy tried to hire a lawyer, thought it wasn’t worth the money. Not terribly abnormal. But with the Times, I started noticing some things that made me think that fate was against me with this. I use the term fate because I am not sure if I am to understand these strange events as Satan standing in my way, or if it is the will of God closing doors.

All in all, the situation is that I am banned from entering Israel for saying I was thinking about converting to Judaism, I have judicial opinions that contain falsehoods and don’t make sense, and I contacted my lawyer for help, and it cost too much money, and now the Times of Israel isn’t interested in me at all. So the Israel thing looks like an unusually bizarre set of circumstances coming together as a whole, but as I mentioned, the interaction with the Times was bizarre. I’ll explain in some detail below.

The first thing I did was send the Times my curriculum vitae with a cover letter and asked about interning and if anyone wanted to cover my story. No one responded. So I called, and the person answering the phone said that the person who dealt with that kind of thing was on vacation but checking e-mails on vacation, and would be a little slow to respond, but there should be a response in a week. So I waited, and nothing happened, so I called again. I was told that the person who dealt with my issue would be finished with vacation in another week, but I should send an e-mail to the blogs department. She actually got up to check on where I should send it, and came back confirming it shold go to the blogs department.

So I sent an e-mail to the blogs department, and they wrote me back that the blogs department did not handle that sort of thing. So we have more bureacratic runaround. I actually have voice recordings of some conversations, and of course, I can show all the e-mails, but I am wondering if that would make for a better story or not. To me, it was all rather bewildering. As I look at these paragraphs, however, it does look like I am merely describing another case of buracracy, but I have to ask myself, how much death by bureacracy does a man have to endure? The border authorities, the lawyer, the Times…if everybody functions like this, I wonder how Israeli society can function at all. Israelis themselves to often complain about their bureacracy, but I was getting hit with avalancches of this kind of miscommunbication and lack of responsiveness.

But okay, I just waited, and finally the week came where the person who dealt with my issue was supposed to come back from vacation. Of course nobody was ersponding to me. So I started calling again. And now we up the strangeness just a little bit more. They stopped answering the phone. I called several times. Once daily, for several days, all during Israeli business hours, all during the work week. All of the sudden nobody answered the phone. I checked calendars, and there were no holidays. On the Times of Israel’s website there was no mention of communication outages of any sort. But for me, Jonathan Bailey, they just didn’t pick up the phone. And it was for like five phone calls in a row. So the chance that someone just happened to be away from their desk five times in a row just while I called would have to be quite low. Remember what I have been telling you about the law of probability, Wilson? There isn’t any. What happens is wht God wants, and if God lets the devil go crazy on you, then that’s what is going to happen. And the devil was starting to look all-powerful, Wilson. He really was. Remember my r/Satanists post? There was that satanist guy there saying he thought Satan was more powerful than God, and I just had to say, “Yep. He is.” That happened during this time. All these little coincidences, the mother of all buracratic runarounds, was happening. Nobody answered e-mails. Nobody picked up the phone. And it was just bizarre.

Because of this, and things going on elsewhere, I took it upon myself to try to take videos of myself making these calls. I wanted to be able to prove, like an investigative journalist, that something was going on here. As soon as I called during business hours while recording a video, I finally got an answer. I had a dismal conversation. The person I spoke with sounded like she had just awakened. She shut me down in every way. No, they did not want an intern. No, they did not want to cover my story. No, they were not hiring. She recommended that I keep writing the editorial blogs. She said I needed experience. And she said I needed to speak Hebrew. Imagine how that felt, Wilson, knowing that the whole thing was predicated on not being able to enter the country to go to a Hebrew class, I hear Hebrew is a requirement for all things. I have written a novel and have years of blogging experience, and have even written editorials for them, but I have no experience. I am wanting to work for them for free, and they are not interested. I don’t think she even knew if anyone wanted to cover the story. By her tone, it didn’t sound like she even knew, but she was just saying that. This is what a wall of granite looks like.

There is a certain flavor here, Wilson. The theme of the last posts is that of bureacracy. Of things not fitting together correctly. Of people not interacting correctly. Of things not functioning. It’s more than just bureaucracy. It’s running to stand still. And it doesn’t fit the law of probability.

Like with my lawyer, I don’t hate the Times of Israel, but I could just see thematically that this wasn’t going to happen. The story has been written a certain way. I have done and will do all of my pursuant writing here. I do not intend to call them back about anything.

I have another post or two about this kind of thing, but writing about people not answering phone calls and charging too much money isn’t really stoundingly interesting, so my next post or so is going to involve something different. But these posts are important ones. I’m trying to show that what happens is a matter of theme in God’s story for our lives, and things don’t go according to the law of probability. Sure, Israeli lawyers can charge too much money. But the thing with the Times just being about the impossibility of getting ahold of anyone followed by a perfect door slam in the face happened right after that, and remember, all of this is happening within the context of a story about a guy banned from Israel because he feels God has called him to help it out. Something is going on here, Wilson. I think it’s hard to deny this.

So okay, we will take a break from bureaucracy and lawyer fees and unanswered e-mails for the next one, but I hope this post has done its job of wratcheting up the weirdness factor just a bit. I hope you have a good week, Wilson. If you have any questions, just e-mail me.

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