Having ignored invitations to various Anglo-Israeli Royal Wedding bashes – quite apart from my already admitted davka-ness, why would I chance having to share such a uniquely British occasion with Israelis, Americans and, worst of all of course, French? – I watched William’s chasseneh, in Netanya, in the company of the person with whom I witnessed that of his parents, thirty years ago: my mother.
To be totally honest, I feel rather above such gatherings . . . which of course I am, my late father having served as physician to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Though, for the benefit of the commoners who read this blog, a soupçon of life with the Royals: On the evening before his first visit from the Prince, dad received a telephone call at home informing him of the correct protocol, essentially not to speak until spoken to. This was ironic, really, considering that dad had a very strong sense of propriety, while the Prince, on the other hand, is famed for putting his foot in it at every given opportunity. “If a cricketer, for instance, suddenly decided to go into a school and batter a lot of people to death with a cricket bat . . . are you going to ban cricket bats?” was his contribution to the gun control debate following Dunblane; whilst his welcome of the Nigerian President (who was in traditional robes) – “You look like you’re ready for bed!” – was what perhaps precluded a return invite to Abuja.
Anyhow, as for the wedding and immediate aftermath, I was less worried about Will’s and Kate’s rather pursed lip kisses on the Buckingham Palace balcony than I was relieved that Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wasn’t caught – for the few seconds that the TV cameras were on him in the Abbey – joining in with Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (more commonly, though erroneously, known as Bread of Heaven).
Neither royalist nor republican, I recognise the stability that the monarchy brings to the British political process, and believe that the nation would be a great deal the poorer for the loss of occasions such as Friday’s.
That evening, however, Hanna, an Israeli friend (of Moroccan parentage, if you are reading, Isaac), told me that the excesses of the wedding confirmed to her just how ridiculous the British really are. But it fell on deaf ears, seeming as it did to be akin to Bnei Yehuda’s finest, Pini Balili (right), telling Lionel Messi that he wastes too much time dribbling.
But it was not just Hanna. Sunday morning’s Haaretz was full of cynicism and sneers. On its front page, ‘journalist’ Shai Golden could only sum up the wedding as “a classic case of “Why didn’t you tell us your sister was prettier than you?”,” following that with an equally moronic reference to the newlyweds as “successors” to “the couple regarded as international British royalty,” David and Victoria Beckham.
As well as displaying the quality of (what my father used to call) being “well-balanced . . . having a chip on each shoulder,” many Israelis have an infuriating habit of pretending to understand – like they do ‘proper’ football (see Moti, you ain’t no Motty!) – other traditions and cultures (older, if not superior) . . . when, really, they know nothing about them. Golden no doubt watched the wedding on Israeli TV, and, probably only recognising Elton John and “Posh and Becks” amongst the invited guests, had to write about one of them.
“The monarchy has long been dead in Europe,” Golden, now the brilliant constitutional theorist, concluded, seemingly on the basis that “there will never be another like [Lady Diana].” Who could argue with such logic? (Though why am I still expecting anything other than ignorance and arrogance from the writers and pages of Haaretz? See Haaretz: Always hitting us when we’re down.)
As for “trash pop culture and empty celebrity hedonism” – of which Golden brands the Beckhams (of whom, incidentally, I am no fan) “the ambassadors” – he need look no further than his own doorstep for these, so sadly obsessed has this country become with crap reality TV and its inane participants. Indeed, who could expect your average Israeli, whose idea of a “spectacle” is the last night of Ha’Ach Ha’Gadol, to appreciate the magnificent pageantry that we witnessed on Friday?
It is impossible to even imagine Israelis, like the tens of thousands of Britons who lined the wedding route, camping out for days on end with such patience and stoicism: they’d finish their Yediot and garinim, get bored, spread the newspaper over the largest possible area – perhaps, if no one is looking, stealing a few extra inches – and then demand that neighbouring campers save the space until they return in three days’ time! (Anyone unfortunate enough to have shopped in an an Israeli supermarket will know exactly what I mean.)
Another report in Sunday’s Haaretz, from the Tel Aviv party attended by the British ambassador, saw fit to quote Israeli singer Tzvika Pik (right), a ridiculous, ageing hippy who once wrote a few catchy pop songs: “I would have had him [Elton John] sing again in the church the way he sang in Princess Diana’s memory. You don’t need more than that.”
And, whilst you’re at it, Tzvika, why not also, after the service, bus all the guests down to the Blackwall Tunnel for a re-enactment of the Paris crash?
Most Israelis just don’t get it. One of the very few who seemed to was actor, Rami Heuberger: “we appreciate the British sense of humor . . . inviting us to an event like this has a lot of humor in it. Because what do we have to do with this? The only blue blood in our veins is the water from the Frishman beach.”
But to my fragrant English Rose, Pippa . . .
Quite apart from your boyfriend (or, rather, momentary aberration) clearly being an absolute dope – who retires at 27 from an extremely promising career as an international cricketer . . . to go into finance?! – I think you will agree that “Pippa and melchett” has a beautiful ring to it.
And you need not worry your lovely legs about what my mum and her Netanya ladies will think/say . . . just the thought of all those hats again – and in real life, this time! – will win ‘em over.
So, Pippa sweetness, you know where to find me. And I am willing to wait if necessary . . . unlike my adopted countrymen, I am extremely patient!