We attended a high school sports event between a Christian high school and a Jewish high school. Both are upper scale, suburban schools and the event was held at the Jewish school’s gymnasium. The facility is fairly new, and was built on land located in one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the Atlanta area.
After we entered the gym, I noticed right away the American flag and the Israeli flag hanging side-by-side from the ceiling. At this point in time, especially this year when Israel is under attack by Palestinian terrorists it seemed an appropriate gesture.
At first, I took it as a symbol of solidarity between two allied and friendly nations. I felt good about that.
Prior to the game, The Star Spangled Banner was played. We all stood at attention with our hands over our hearts.
Then the Israeli national anthem was played, and I felt a bit uncomfortable. Many in the crowd were apparently there supporting the home team, and stood at attention with their hands over their hearts. I simply stood respectfully and wondered what was going on.
Were the Jewish home crowd putting their religion and race ahead of being citizens of the United States of America? Were they showing their support for their Jewish brethren in Israel and all they were going through?
I noted the equal height of the national flags with the USA flag was on the left. That seemed OK, and it turns out that this is within the protocol of flag placement according to several organizations that are concerned with things like this. However, the timing of the national anthems was not. It is traditional that the American national anthem be the last played at events where multiple nations are recognized with their anthems.
My final decision is that any breach of protocol was not intended. The event was a friendly sporting exercise pitting Christian kids against presumably Jewish kids. It was a girls volley ball game, and I assure you the kids were not thinking about religion, but it was all about spiking the ball
The parents and spectators cheered for their kids, and applauded respectfully for the other team. It was a genuine American event.