I have written in the past about my visits to the Israeli Misrad Harishui (Israel’s DMV) in the 1970′s and 1980′s. At that time, I served as a Senior Administrative Law Judge in the American DMV Traffic Courts, Vice-Chair of DMV’s Appeals Boards, and Director of DMV Downstate Field Operations.
When I visited Israel, I was hosted by the director of driver licensing and vehicle registration in the Ministry of Transport. The Israeli authorities and I often discussed measures that could be taken to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Israel, as many more Israelis die in traffic accidents than are killed by terrorists. We also talked about “housekeeping” issues, such as minimizing waiting times in our offices.
On one trip, the director took me on a tour of the back office computer operation in the Israel DMV’s main office in Holon. At that time, I prevented a former New Yorker from fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license to operate a motorcycle, based on a non-existent New York State motorcycle license. A few days later, he took me to visit the Jerusalem DMV District Office in Talpiot.
In Talpiot, we met with the district director in charge of the office, took a tour, and discussed the problems of DMV offices, both in Israel and in New York. As we were leaving, the district director said to me, “If you ever need help, feel free to call on me.”
My wife and I spent the following Shabbat in Efrat with our widowed sister-in-law. Over the course of the Shabbat, I told her of my Israeli DMV experiences, including the district director’s parting remark.
Our sister-in-law’s car registration was still in her late husband’s name. She needed to transfer the registration to her own name. Efrat residents are required to transact their DMV business in the Jerusalem office.
She went to the office to get the transaction done. Predictably, the clerk told her that she was missing a necessary document. Back to Efrat she went to get the needed paper.
On her fourth trip to the Talpiot office, the clerk once again turned her down. This time, remembering what I had told her about my visit to that office a month or so earlier, she asked to see the district director.
He looked at her papers and reiterated what the clerk had said – that she still needed more documentation to get the registration transferred.
At this point, throwing caution to the winds, my sister-in-law said, “Sir, about a month ago, my brother-in-law, the Director of Downstate Field Operations for the New York State DMV was hosted here by your director. You told him if he ever needed help, he should just ask. Do I need to have him call you from America to ask you to help me?”
“No, of course not. Let me look at these papers again.”
After a short re-examination of my sister-in-law’s documents, he called over the clerk and told him to process the application to transfer the registration.
My “good deed” in stopping fraud in Holon was repaid.