Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Solo solo hamesilah, saklu me'even

Anyone who has lived here (at least in Haifa, probably in all Israel) knows that the construction companies are incompetent beyond belief.

Take my street for example. For the last two months, the municipality has been repeatedly ripping out the sidewalk and pavement, repaving and repainting it, deciding that they didn't do it correctly (or else damaging what they did correctly by moving heavy machinery over it), and starting the whole process from the beginning. When all is said and done, there will be one or two more parking spots on the street than there were before, a sidewalk made up of both stone tiles and asphalt as opposed to just asphalt like before, and incredible quantities of taxpayer money wasted.

My friend across town (Kiryat Eliezer) tells how within the span of a few months, two kilometers of sidewalk on his street were leveled, a deep trench dug, work done, and the sidewalk replaced - and this whole process repeated twice more from the beginning. The first time was for the future light rail line, then for some kind of cable replacement, then for sewage pipes. Of course it was somehow impossible for any of these digs to be combined with any of the others.

So, the most recent delays reported for the Jerusalem light rail project should surprise nobody. By Israeli standards, the Jerusalem construction work seems more than competent. After all, they only ripped out the already built tracks once, and only on a small portion of the route.

When I think of the employment sectors in the country most in need of reform, banks and rabbinical courts are certainly near the top of the list. And despite what you would THINK would be a much greater amount of competition, construction companies must be right up there with them.

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