When I was a teenager, my parents use to come visit Israel every summer ( as I did) and they liked staying at the old Moriah Hotel. The old hotel was a small hotel with 30-40 rooms run by the owner. This was during the period between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War and with tourism booming in Jerusalem, they decided to expand, and try to build the new building that stands today on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem. When I visited them I would stare in amazement as three or four workers would be working on the site trying to build a big hotel. Three summers in a row they returned and slowly a hole was dug, foundations laid and maybe one story finished. Finally, I imagine the owner ran out of money, sold out to one of the chains at the time and quickly the building went up.
I was reminded of that story today when I went with my son Eytan to Mifgash Ha Steak, which is located at the intersection of Begin and Karlbach- one of the interchanges that have been closed to begin work on the Light Rail. I stood in the restaurant talking to the owner, one of the many owners of small business that will be terribly impacted by the construction, that is expected to keep the intersection closed for five years. We discussed why is it that in Israel it takes five years to do the work that would allow the intersection to reopen, when in many other places the work would be done in 6 months. As we looked out the windows of the restaurant it was clear, there we one piece of heavy equipment working. On the whole site, I counted at tops 10 workers toiling away. Other places in the world, if a key intersection was to close they would have hundreds of workers toiling 24/ 6 finishing the project.
Some things never change!