The Week in Review

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I mean my week in review. So, nothing about the Kassam rockets landing in Sderot, the negotiations (or lack, thereof) for the release of our kidnapped soldiers or the sexual peccadilloes of our President.  Peccadilloes  would, in any case, be the wrong word. If the allegations are true, we are talking about serious crimes, carrying a penalty of up to 16 years in prison.
I have been wondering what I can do to make my blog more personal. Perhaps I should write up my week Bridget Jones style – (cigarettes – 0; alcoholic drinks consumed – 0; criminals put behind bars – I’m not entirely sure. Once my work day is over, it tends to become a blank, to be filled by thoughts of the day to come).
Besides, I don’t think that’s entirely me.
Well, let’s just start and see what happens.
A depressing return to the daily grind, after the week-long Succot holiday – not to mention a fantastically successful concert the evening before (see previous entry).  I think a dose of consumer therapy is called for. I therefore take the huge step of trading in my old cell-phone, which I have had for over 7 years and which is practically a museum piece, for a brand-new, state-of-the-art Motorola V3x. My old Mitsubishi 351 served me long and faithfully (until its battery finally gave up the ghost), but one must move with the times, after all. So now, I am walking around with what can only be described as a miniature computer. Not only does it make phone calls, both voice and video, it also gives me Internet access, plays music, and serves as a camera – as well as performing several other functions which I haven’t yet been able to figure out. All this for the trifling price of 307 NIS. This is the price I pay, as a long-standing customer, for a phone whose regular price is 2044 NIS, and which is sold to upgrading customers for 1044 NIS. The company is clearly not losing money, otherwise they would never give such a huge discount. My conclusion – the phone companies charge a great deal more for their equipment than it actually costs them. In fact, they are all  raking in the lolly hand over fist.
Back at the office, I call my bank manager, who has been leaving me ever more urgent messages to get in touch.
It turns out I have way too much money in my current account and he thinks I should do something useful with it. (Don’t you just love it when your bank manager has to chase you to tell you you have too much money in your account?) So, I am persuaded to tie up a fairly large sum in a Fixed Time Deposit. Afterwards, it occurs to me that this was a mistake. I should have invested in Orange, Pelephon or Cellcom (see above). If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Nothing really special to report – apart from the mysterious disappearance of a case file due to go to trial in two days time. General panic ensues (well, I panic anyway) until it is found. No-one is willing to tell me where, but I have my suspicions…
A fairly decent day in court, with my favourite judge, is offset by a nightmarish choir practice, during which it becomes painfully clear that hardly anyone really knows the oratorio we are supposed to be singing on our concert tour in Germany at the end of the month. How can they have forgotten, so quickly, a work we performed three times, only last month?! The evening is rendered even more hideous by the incessant chattering of the sopranos sitting behind me and to my right. To cap it all, my throat is scratchy and sore, early signs of a bad cold which, I have no doubt, will strike in full force within the next two days.
An absolutely horrendous day in court starts with the disappearance (again!) of the case file mentioned above. I actually have copies of the witness statements – but the file contained a video-disc, with visual proof important (though not vital, fortunately) to my case. This too turns up eventually, before my blood pressure goes through the roof.
So, what have we on today’s docket? A wifebeater gets off with 180 hours of community service, because the victim accompanies him to court and assures us all that if convicted, he will lose his job and the family is financially dependent on him. A violent thug walks away with a suspended gaol term and a ludicrously low fine because he and the victim are now the best of friends. (They really are. I can attest to that myself, having seen them together. Besides, there was severe provocation on the part of the victim).
12:30 PM. It is time for the first evidentiary hearing of the day (the famous file that disappeared twice, remember?). This is a burglary case. The witnesses are already here. Unfortunately, the defendant, who is on remand, has not yet been brought up from the holding cell and of his lawyer, there is no sign.  Meanwhile, we proceed with other business.
At 3:00 PM, we are still waiting. The witnesses are getting restless. One of them, a police officer who is supposed to be working the night shift today, announces that he is going home to rest. I do not argue with him. I am pretty sure that this case is not going to end today. I suggest that the other witnesses also be released and recalled another day. The judge won’t hear of it. The witnesses themselves prefer to wait and get it over with. One of them is a 15 year old high-school student, accompanied by his father. I slip him a note in which I remark, cynically, that at least he is getting a lesson in Civics – a first hand look at the face of Justice in Israel.
Finally, at 15:30 PM, the defendant is brought up. Another ten minutes and his lawyer is located. It is at this point that the judge suggests that we take five minutes and try to reach some agreement. I have very little hope that anything will come of it, but by this time, we are all totally exhausted, and it’s worth a shot. The man has a prior conviction for burglary and has already served time in gaol. In addition, he has a 4-month suspended sentence hanging over him. To my surprise, we reach agreement on a one-year prison term. (I know I should have pressed for more…)
I finish just in time to get to my singing lesson. I can’t believe that at the end of a day such as this has been, and with a nasty cold developing, my voice sounds so good…
My cold has finally got the better of me. I work on case files at home. And I decide to skip choir practice this evening. (It was, in any case, an unscheduled rehearsal, added at the last minute.)
Hurrah! Made it through the week. The house is cleaned. The Shabbat evening meal is prepared. Within minutes of each other, I hear the siren that heralds the impending start of the Sabbath and the Ramadan cannon that informs the Faithful that the day of fasting is over and that they may now eat.
Curious – the Muslims signal the end of the fast with a cannon and we Jews signal the start of the Sabbath with an air-raid siren (albeit the All Clear). There must be a moral to be learned there – though I’m not sure what it is!
I shall now go and sit on the balcony and watch the sunset.
Gaaaah! What has happened to my bougainvillea?

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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