Food, Manners and Unrequited Love: What Every Visitor to Israel Needs to Know
To poorly paraphrase Lenin:
"You may be very interested in Israel, but Israel may not be very interested in you."
Just as there are anti-American Americans, there are Israelis who don't share your passion for their country, especially if you are a Christian Zionist.
Speaking of which:
Dear Evangelical Protestants (like the ones I met in Israel):
Would it kill you to read a book one day? No, the Catholic Church is not "planning to take over Jerusalem." I thought I'd heard every anti-Catholic conspiracy theory -- did you know the Jesuits killed Lincoln? -- but that was a new one on me. The Catholic Church I know fairly intimately can barely run its own affairs.
For everyone who welcomed Glenn Beck on his recent visit to Israel, I suspect there were a dozen Israelis who considered him a naive goyim buffoon who secretly wants to convert Jews to Mormons or something.
Christians are certainly welcomed because they bring in mega-tourist bucks, but don't be under any illusions: the Orthodox Jews shuffling past your church group while you're reenacting the Stations of the Cross may not be thinking the most charitable, ecumenical thoughts.
Yes, there are t-shirts for sale in hotel gift shops that read "Don't Worry America -- Israel Has Your Back!" But you'll never see an actual Israeli wearing one.
One thing that did work in our favor was being Canadian. Our staunchly pro-Israel Prime Minister is much more popular in Israel than he is in much of his home country.
I hope Americans no longer sew maple leafs on their backpacks to get better treatment in Europe. However, I'm tempted to advise you to do that when you visit Israel.
Whatever you decide to wear, however, be sure to go. You won't regret it.
Enjoy Kathy's Israel travelogue? Check out more from her at PJ Lifestyle: