Legally, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and in the rain.
Its only taken me 4 years and 3 months to convert to an Israeli drivers license but its finally done.
When we first arrived in Israel, the law was that we could drive for 1 year on our SA license and in total we had up to 3 years to convert to an Israeli license. The catch? We needed to do a minimum of 2 driving lessons and a test in order to convert.
Due to pure laziness, lack of spare funds for lessons and a fear of doing the test, I kept putting it off. Then, just before the 3 years were up, I pulled out my SA license only to see it had expired. And in order to actually do the conversion, besides all of the above, your SA license needs to be valid. Oops…
Oh, and did I mention, if you dont convert your license within the required time period, you have to do a theory test, take a minimum of 28 lessons and do the final test.
Yeah, I resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to drive in Israel.
Then, the law changed, now, you have 5 years to convert your license, you dont need to do lessons or a test and the only requirements are a valid SA license and proof that you have been driving for more than 5 years before making aliyah.
And the, in January, I went back to SA to visit my grandfather who had a bad fall. And while I was there, my mommy organised for me to renew my SA drivers license.
She organised for it to be collected and then a friend of my brothers brought it to Israel for me last week and bam! I had a valid license, proof I had been driving for 5 years prior to coming to Israel and I still had 9 months before the 5 year grace period was over.
And as of yesterday I am officially licensed to drive in Israel.
As for driving a car… a colleague insisted that I take her car for a spin around the parking lot this morning. After 4 years of not driving, it was so much fun. Despite the rain and the fact that we drive on the right over here, I think I managed pretty well.
Now to rent a car and start properly exploring this awesome country.