Having made this decision, I took myself over to the bank one morning. Banks are usually open in the mornings, although the morning may end at different times at different branches, sometimes as late as 2:30PM, unless there is a strike or a holiday. There I asked, as my neighbor recommended, for Sharon, a lovely woman young enough to be my granddaughter if I had started reproducing at 20. She was cheerfully ready to open my account, without any money. Surprise! when I suggested that the reason I wanted the account was to take money out, but I had a feeling they would want me to put some in first, she sympathetically steered me over to the manager, a sweet man young enough to be my younger son, that is, younger than my only son. Let's call him Avi. Avi discussed my situation very pleasantly and I whipped out my American bank checkbook to demonstrate how I wanted to put money into my new account. He recoiled. No, no, he said. We have to charge a percentage of the amount you deposit by check; a wire transfer is much cheaper. Now that you have an account, you have all the numbers you need to give your American bank the instructions. Go and do that, and in the meantime we'll get your new checkbook printed up. Come by to pick it up in a few days. If you don't want to leave yet, and you can go to Hila now to get your Internet and phone banking set up. So I did.
Although disappointed that all I had was a few papers with numbers, I had at least set the wheels in motion, and the security guard in front had very kindly allowed my dog inside, so it seemed like a successful first visit.
The plot began to thicken when I called by American bank, prepared to give them the numbers for the wire transfer. No, no, they said, you can't initiate a wire transfer by phone. Only in person. Not by fax either. Certainly not by email. Only in person. You have to appear in person to set up future wire transfers by fax. And we charge $50 per transfer.
Oh well, it's a good thing I have no deadline for this project.