You Too Can Be Part of an Israel-Trip Entourage...:
Actually, Davidson Trip 06-07
Good old President Bush (and by good I mean he likes Israel and that's about I have got that's nice to say, and my parents told me not to say something nice if I...oh, you get the idea...) arrived in Israel today, and it got me thinking about how his trip is very much like a teen summer tour of Israel, so please...Welcome to Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008, Group Air Force One! Today was Yom Bush, Day 1.
1. Board a plane that seems to be only filled with your group. Everybody else just blends into the seats as you sit back and enjoy the most delicious offerings of a transatlantic flight. The option to sing and dance in the aisles is possible, but not encouraged. Decorum must be maintained, as you are representing your entire country.
2. Land at Ben Gurion. The airport seems overrun with your group members. Other planes are delayed because your group is so rowdy and unwieldy.
Welcome To Israel, President Bush!
3. The inevitable press conference (AKA, the letter sent to parents or camp director back at home).
4. Traffic seems to stop whenever your massive entourage is around.
Taken today, 9 Jan 2008. Here's King David street completely shut to car, bus AND pedestrian traffic.
5. Every Pilgrimage Seminar gets a helicopter ride!
6. Pedestrian and driven traffic avoids your large, loud, self-centered group. Normal bus service turns into snow day bus service. Good luck making it to ulpan!
"I wish I didn't have to find alternate routes to school for three days." Jan 2007, At the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
7. When you get to the hotel, it seems to be overrun with only people from your group. Many local hotels seem to contain only people from your group (King David, Dan Panorama...booked and bursting with security and press.)
8. Don't know where you're going? Don't worry, your trusty tour bus/limo driver will take you right where you need to go.
9. Meals are prepared in the hotel, and you do not go to restaurants, as that would disturb the other patrons.
Israeli Delicacy (Actually, at Max Brenner Jan '07)
Israeli Delicacy (Actually, skewered, grilled hearts, Jerusalem Grill Bar, Dec '06
10. Israelis, like any people who live in a tourist trap (like New Yorkers and Floridians), see you as a nuisance, but realize that your presence will stimulate the economy.
11. Your trip includes trips to places that people around the world wish they were able to visit.
12. The Old City seems to be lit up, just for you! (Really, the lights will stay on until 2AM, instead of midnight, so Bush can enjoy the walls of the old city like he did when he was governor of Texas.)
Oh, the Old City. She really is such a beauty.
13. Money is not an issue, so make sure you get Mom and Dad's money's worth while spending, like, $25,000.00 an hour. ($25,000.00 per hour on security. Seriously. This from a country that refuses to pay their teachers and professors livable wages.)
It's OK, it's just pretend money!
14. The Jewish Agency requires you to have armed guards at all times, so don't worry, we'll call some up from miluim (reserves), and they will be Israel's HOTTEST.
Or, Israel's Tired-est! (JK, This Soldier Was On His Day Off.
15. Don't forget to see the real Israel. Nothing says three days in the Holy Land like a day in Ramallah, a morning at Yad Vashem, completely vacant streets, and not a single stop at a falafel stand, the Dead Sea, or, even the Western Wall. At least Bush gets to dialogue in the West Bank, which probably hasn't been done with teenagers since I was on Pilgrimage in 1999.
16. Inevitable Group T-shirt:
FRONT: Israel Spent $25,000.00 an Hour on Security for My Visit, And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt.
BACK: Palestine / Israel Pilgrimage Seminar 2008, Group Air Force One!
Rosh: George W. Bush
Staff: Ehud Olmert, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres
Campers: [Insert Press Core Names Here], [Insert Security Detail Names Here]
Driver: [First Name Only.]
[Insert Inside Jokes Here, such as "Peace in the Middle East?" or "My President Loves a Jewish Carpenter." Inside jokes to be collected over the course of PIPS2008]
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