Tuesday, June 29, 2010

London Pride (#5)

My sister arranged for our family to take The Original Tour Bus around London. The city is so huge, there are three routes that by the end of the day will take you everywhere. You could ride for hours before you get the full picture of London.
We climbed to the top of the double decker and oohed at the stately statues and the historic buildings. London was all history. You can feel the kings and statesmen walking the streets there. And the guides talk about them all the time. Every building had a piece of history either 200 years ago or 20.
The London Hilton – here the Beatles met their guru, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The Dorchester Hotel – here Elizabeth Taylor spent each of her honeymoons. The guide mentioned that the hotel has a revolving front door, but it’s probably not related.
Hyde Park – Queen Victoria was born there, and Princess Diana lived there until her untimely death.
Speakers Corner of Marble Arch – where condemned criminals were allowed to stand up on soap boxes and deliver their parting speech before they were hanged. About 200,000 people attended each hanging, and about 60,000 Englishmen were hanged there over the centuries.
You get the idea – England is dripping with history, and the tour guides get you so wrapped up in their centuries of history, you want to wave the Union Jack (their red, white and blue flag) for the rest of the day. Queen Victoria, Lord Nelson, Queen Elizabeth I and II, Ann Boylen, Oliver Cromwell. I know all about them. Just hearing their stories is exciting.
I don’t know if it’s because these people have real pride in their British heritage, or if they’re being paid to say this stuff, but I was feeling a little jealous.
I want Israeli tour guides to tow the “Jewish Party Line.” I want every tour guide in Israel to talk constantly about the Patriarchs, David, Solomon, Ezra, Nechemiah, and all our prophets and statesmen of yore. I know that some tour guides do, including Topguide Avi Dobuler, Meir Eisenman, Peter Abelow, Eve Harow, but all tour guides should have to do that.
I want tourists in Israel to be as excited about the City of David, the Cave of Machpela and the Temple Mount as tourists in England feel about Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Hyde Park.
All over Gloucester Place, there are blue plaques to indicate that famous citizens once lived there in the distant or very distant past. Well, that’s a great idea. We should do that in Israel too. As you enter Hebron, there should be a giant blue sign, “Here David ruled…”, “Here are buried, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rivka, and Jacob and Leah.” Bet El should have a sign, “Jacob slept here.” A Haifa sign should proclaim, “Elijah prophesied here.”
One more note about our tour…London has tremendous dignity. There is an air of stateliness and nobility everywhere – not just because there are royal crests all over the queen’s real estate here (and she sure owns a lot of real estate), but because the people act with decorum and manners. Even regular people give an air of dignity, and it’s not just the accent.
It goes back to the pride thing that we were talking about before. Without even realizing how much it affects them, they are poised with have an air of self-respect. They are the Queen’s people. They can’t be slovenly or impolite.Another thing that we Israelis should learn from the British. Self-respect. Dignity. We are the people of the King – firstly the King of Kings, but also David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Yoash. We are the people of the kings, and we should treat one another courteously and politely. And we ourselves should start acting like our own history demands – like a proud nation.

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