I have decided, in honour of the Three Weeks, to write several posts that tell positive stories about Am Yisrael, or discuss optimistic trends in Israeli society. I am an optimist at heart, and I genuinely feel that if we could only focus and amplify the good energies that exist all around us, we could certainly alleviate much of the discord that separates us and threatens to divide us further.
So, here is today's story:
I flew to London last week. Sitting next to me on the plane was a man, probably a few years my junior. I decided to make some polite conversation seeing that we would be quite literally rubbing shoulders for the next five hours. It transpired that the man was a businessman, a senior sales executive for a large UK printing machinery business and had spent 2 days visiting clients in Israel. I asked him how he had found his experience here, wondering whether he would tell me about rude Israelis and sub-standard service. But he told a different story. It went something like this.
"Well, I got to my hotel in Tel Aviv at night and couldn't quite get a feel for the place, but when i woke up in the morning, well - what a beautiful beach; just stunning! And then up to Haifa and the Jezreel Valley. Very hot, but you have a beautiful country."
Well I couldn't agree more! Good so far, but it gets better. He then continued:
"My client drove all the way down from Haifa to pick me up from my hotel. They took me out to eat and were wonderful company. They even drove me to my meeting with one of their competitors, and waited for me patiently in the car until I had completed my meeting. at the end of the day they drove me back to my hotel. Their warmth and hospitality was quite overwhelming."
His closing comment put a big smile on my face:
"This trip has set new standards of hospitality for me. It has really made me think about how we treat our business partners when they visit us in the UK. We don't drive them around or accompany them home after a meeting. We certainly have a great deal to learn from the generosity and hospitality of you Israelis."
That company in Haifa should get an Israel Business award! What a Kiddush Hashem! Nice to hear about the positive aspects of our people and our country.