Yesterday just as Google was announcing its purchase of Waze for $1.1 billion and the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Netanyahu, was calling Waze CEO Noam Bardin to congratulate him, I received a phone call from a friend of mine, a new immigrant to Israel, who wanted traveling directions from Ramat Gan (just north of Tel Aviv) to the Mt. Herzl parking lot in Jerusalem.
I was surprised by her call because my friend’s new car is equipped with the latest in-car GPS system and she’s got a smart phone with the Waze app on it. I, on the other hand, am a happy-go-lucky, non-violent, pseudo-neo-Luddite*. I own an amazingly modern instrument, (one that most of you would consider to be a rather old-fashioned), it’s a “3rd Generation” Nokia cellular telephone made in Romania long about 2010. My cellular doesn’t have internet connection and it isn’t able to accept text messages with attachments. It is a cellular telephone with a camera. I have never bothered to sort out how to use the camera, because I have a lovely digital camera which is what I use for taking pictures. My cellular phone allows me to make and receive telephone calls and to send and receive ordinary text messages. I am genuinely amazed at how well it works as a phone. It is way better than “good enough”! But I have digressed, I was sharing about my friend and her call to me for directions.
I wondered out loud to her about why she was calling me. I gently and diplomatically mentioned to her that Israel is connected to Waze, Google Maps, and that for several years now Israeli GPS systems have been adjusted to avoid sending principled left-wing leaning drivers through the West Bank (aka Judea and Shomron aka The Palestinian Authority).
Her response was: “Yes, I know all that. But have you ever tried using Waze or Google Maps or the GPS? They are all in HEBREW and you need to press the translation button to get them into English!”
“You do remember that I learned sea-faring navigation BEFORE we all began using the Loran-C system, right? I have a really amazing map book in the car. I plan out my routes before I start the car. And, of course, I do rely heavily on my 55-year-old memory based GPS.” I said.
“Yes, I know that is why I am calling you. I guess you wouldn’t know that Waze apps and all the rest of them have a tendency to send you via circuitous routes. I think they are all in cahoots with the gasoline companies to get us to use more gas so that they can all make more money! So come on, how do I get from Ramat Gan to Mt. Herzl parking lot in Jerusalem via the shortest route?”
Just like that, without thinking about it twice or futzing with a Lucite screen, I called up my memory based GPS and gave her the route as follows:
“Take Road 20 (Ayalon Highway) to Road 1 (TLV/Jerusalem Highway).
Stay on Road 1 until you see the sign for the Harel/Mevasseret exit (it may also say Hadassah Hospital).
Take the Harel/Mevasseret Road and follow all signs directing you towards Hadassah Hospital/Ein Kerem.
At the third roundabout (I think it is the third it could be the second – sorry I use a 55 year old memory based GPS).
Anyway, I am sure that it is properly signed so just keep looking for signs that read Hadassah Hospital/Ein Kerem.
Turn into Ein Kerem, follow the road past all of the shops. You will be going up hill, after all of the shops you have a junction, it will be signed with either Yad Va’Shem or Mt. Herzl,
Follow the natural curve of the road up the hill, at the top there is a traffic light turn left (away from the Calder Sculpture which is on your right).
Now you are on Herzl Boulevard in Jerusalem.
Proceed, forward on Herzl Boulevard until you see the traffic light with the sign with an arrow which allows you a legal left turn which is actually a u-turn (the left u-turn allows you over the light rail tracks). Please do choose your parking lot.
The first parking lot is for the military cemetery and is usually less crowded. If you do not wish to park there proceed forward to the 2nd parking lot which is the official Mt. Herzl parking lot near the museum. Both parking lots are well lit and have security cameras.”
55 minutes later I received the following text message from my friend: “Woot! I made it, car’s parked and I’m meeting friends at the bus stop for tonight’s UEFA-under21 game. Your directions were perfect. Incredibly scenic route, avoided the traffic jam. Thank you. You are the best!”
Now I am seriously thinking, may-be I CAN compete with Waze. I just need to come up with a catchy name, but I think this will do for my logo’s visual:
*neo-Luddite: “Neo-Luddism stems from the concept that technology has a negative impact on individuals, their communities and the environment.” A true Neo-Luddite is radically opposed to many forms of modern technology.
Photo for this blog post was taken at the Ovdat/Ain Ovdat Archeological Park by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and is owned by IsraeLightly.