You’re complaining?

Kvetch, kvetch: That wonderful Yiddish word hardly requires translation, so fully does its mere sound convey its meaning: the ungrateful, unending complaint. There’s always something, as they say in New York. And in Tel Aviv. Though it leaves one wondering how the Israeli government, its agenda filled with a postwar inquiry, political turmoil, a troubled economy, and a few other issues, found time to concentrate on things like government travel, somehow they did, having recently decreed that Israel‘s civil servants on overseas travel will henceforth fly not on El Al, the airline that was born along with the state of Israel, but instead on Alitalia.

Now that El Al is a privatised carrier, it has to compete for government traffic and indeed for most every other type of business, going up against the nation’s two other airlines, Israir and Arkia, as well as non-Israeli airlines. The Alitalia decision has raised eyebrows, and one Israeli columnist, Tal Heruti Sover, of, the online version of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper group, suggests that the “humiliating” decision might have something to do with “the infamous Israeli service and the terrible food” on El Al and with such lures as “Italian-speaking cabin attendants and pilots who had not graduated the Israeli air force – but who are much more charming.” Wait a moment, friend. You’re complaining? 

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