Brian of London was at last night’s Restoring Courage event at the magnificent Roman Amphitheatre in Caesarea. And here I am:
I was sitting with Israpundit who helped me out by collecting my tickets on Friday in Jerusalem. The organisation for picking up tickets in Israel wasn’t so smart: you had to be in Jerusalem on Friday morning to get the ticket for a show in Caesarea on a Sunday night. Not so easy for a Tel Abib! I was tweeting live from the event and putting out a fair few pictures and you can see that twitter stream here.
I’ll give some personal observations. Jesus was barely mentioned: that’s a big deal with that crowd and to my mind represents a significant effort to go out of the way to show the good intentions of the organisers and participants.
I don’t really know how more clear Glenn Beck could make his intentions than what he said last night. I’ll paraphrase: he loves Jews AS Jews in Israel and has no desire to convert us. Clear enough? Anybody who still doesn’t believe him is malicious or completely incapable of taking honest people at their word.
I spoke to quite a few in the audience, many of whom had landed from all over the US, got in a bus and travelled to the amphitheatre without pausing for breath. That’s not easy. You should also know that the Roman Amphitheatre was not built for modern standards of comfort! The seating is hewn stone with no back rests. Fortunately Beck’s people had organised to hand out free cushions (at a typical Israeli event they might charge for these) and free bottles of water.
That’s Israpundit in the white shirt picking up his free cushion and water.
Exactly 30 minutes before the kick off time of 8pm they started the “pre-show” which was relayed to us on two giant screens: these were very high quality screens and obviously receiving hi-definition feeds. Sound was good and not booming.
The amphitheatre was not full when the show started leading to some snide comments on twitter from Beck-haters. The logistics of flying people direct from the other side of the world to a timed event and then driving them through and out of Tel Aviv at rush hour had obviously proved too much as it was clear that a few bus loads of people weren’t there at the start.
I can definitively say that the place was pretty much full to capacity by the end. The very sides of the amphitheatre have no view of the stage (which was set back behind the screens). Anyone who says that Beck didn’t fill the venue is lying.
As to the content: as I said above I found it respectful, informative and entertaining. Pastor Hagee was the high point. This man speaks so beautifully and his theme was a development of Kennedy’s famous pronouncement in Berlin: “I am an Israeli”. The audience joined in enthusiastically.
I spoke to as many travellers as I could and they were in awe of the venue and the event. I felt very comfortable in that crowd: I know I have much more in common with these people than with the 80% of liberal Jews in the US who though Obama would be a good idea. These people don’t, seriously, want me to stop being a Jew. I don’t care what some of them think about my future salvation options without Jesus in my life: that’s between them and their pastor. I know that out of the whole world, right now, these people will not criticise my country when we defend ourselves against endless waves of murderous Jihadis.
These people have love in their hearts but enough steel in their backbone to know evil when they see it and know that it has to be fought. I’ll stand with them and they are standing with me.
Thank you Glenn Beck: you’ve put your personal career on the line. Making Israel your central issue, at this point, will loose you many in America. I know: I read the comments on blogs. But it will gain you so much more support both in America and everywhere else there are decent people.
Yisrael Medad has written a short account (and took the photo of me at the top of this post!) and even links to the Haaretz report which was pretty favourable. I met the Haaretz reporter but didn’t talk to him (I’m camera shy and he was recording). Barry Rubin (who watched on the live stream on gbtv.com) has posted at Pajamas Media.
I’ll end with a few more of my photos.