Well, it was more than 25 years ago, give or take. My dad was in Israel, involved in some aspect of building some of the airbases that were a part of the Camp David Accords. (I cast about Wikipedia looking for some kind of reference; the best I can do is this
.) I'm sure there were other things involved, too, but hell, I was less than 4 years old and wasn't paying a lot of attention. Anyway, he spent close to two years there. My mom and I went to visit him a couple of times (which involved layovers in Paris and Athens on separate trips). Then at one point circa 1981 we went over and stayed for close to nine months, before heading back to the States.
My memories of that time are unsurprisingly sparse. It was hot. At one point, I was enrolled in some kind of preschool/kindergarteny thing; that's primarily memorable for the episode wherein I got pushed by another kid and ended up landing, rump first, on a cactus (this may have been the genesis of my odd empathy for Wile E. Coyote). I picked up a decent amount of Hebrew during my time there, though this has atrophied to the point that I can only remember "Hello", "Thank you", "You're welcome", how to count to 7, and how to say the number 441
was my primary resource for memories of those times, though my mom has some recall as well. My dad, at the time3
, was quite the amateur photographer, and we still have hundreds of slides that he took--we spent much of the late '80s boring friends and acquaintances with slideshows of the Holy Land and our return trip through Europe (which is another entry entirely).
I do know that we did a lot of the religiousy/touristy stuff--Jerusalem, Gethsemane, Bethlehem. I'd wager no one reading these words has had a more authentic historically religious experience4
than visiting the Church of the Nativity
...on Christmas Day, and while the provenance of the Church might be considered dubious, walking amid olive trees on the Mount of Olives that were over a thousand years old when JC (is said to have) walked among them, that's something.
I retain almost none of Tel Aviv, proper; unlike Jerusalem, Tel Aviv is an almost entirely modern (since 1948) city, nearly devoid of historical context. The people throughout the country were uniformly kind, though unsurprisingly nearly all of them had that ex-military "press the wrong button and I will not hesitate to break you in half" thing.
Any other questions?1Why 44? Reggie Jackson wore 44, and even then, I bled navy pinstripes.
2I'll take any excuse I can get to link to that story.
3He lost his desire for it when his camera bag carrying all his equipment was stolen on a flight from DFW to Midway.
4Paging irony. Irony to the white courtesy phone.