Sunday night was a Masa mega event in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister of Israel was there, along with thousands of young adults here on 5-10 month programs like me.
We were one of the first groups to arrive, and as such had seats in the very front row of an auditorium that held a few thousand people. They had been playing party music all night, and everyone was in a weird mood.
The event started with a speech from the head of Masa Israel Journey, and then there was a video presentation that included some of the members of our program. That was followed be an immensely awkward animated guy that tried to get everyone to repeat Hebrew words and stand up at their seats and do some action based on where they lived. (Well, as long as they lived in the US, France, or Russia.) On the stage were two hype girls, and some dude air guitaring on a real guitar. It was really, really embarrassing.
Then the head of the Jewish Agency gave a short speech about his time in Soviet prisons, and about 9 amazingly intense security guards showed up.
And then the Prime Minister came out onto the stage.
I was sitting less than 10 feet from him (which actually made getting this photo awkward – I had to almost stand up to see above the podium). He was like a rockstar to the crowd, who chanted his name and rushed the stage when we bent down to shake hands. Which made his security entourage reallllllly realllllly anxious.
He gave a pretty predictable short speech telling us to spread the truth about Israel and asking us to come back after the program ends because this is our country as well as his.
And then it was more videos, more awkward-cartoon-guy, and then a concert of the Idan Raichel Project.
I actually hadn’t heard of them before. Their music is pseudo-‘World’ music, and I’m not sure I’d be a huge fan of it via speakers, but in the front row of a packed auditorium it was really fun.
Apparently they do this event every year, and Bibi speaks every time. Still, it was an enjoyable event and I appreciate them putting it on for us. My boss even came out for a VIP meet and greet ahead of time, and MAsa provided special seats for him and his girlfriend during the speeches and shows. He’s usually pretty reserved, but I think he had a good time.
There is also likely forthcoming video of me dancing uncomfortably with a video camera pointed in my face during the show.
I wasn’t nearly as awkward as the dude in the suit sitting next to me who asked me to take photos of him approximately 7 different times with Idan in the background throughout the concert.
It was a really long show, ending around 11pm (we had arrived at 5pm), and by the time we regathered outside and made our way back to Tel Aviv, it was after midnight.
On a work night! Apparently I am getting old.