Who’s Your Friend?

picture of US and Israel flags hanging side by side
Symbol of Friendship

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.

7 thoughts on “Who’s Your Friend?”

  1. I didn’t know it had words. A quick YouTube search would have told me that. Was the Star Spangled Banner played, also? If so in what order were they played? Thanks, Ed.

  2. Thanks, Ed. I, too, took it for a symbol of solidarity, and thought it was a shame that Obama doesn’t get it, and that most of the people at the game were Democrats That’s the demographics. It makes you wonder, sometimes.

  3. I love both flags there and have to differ on the anthem. It’s the AMERICAN anthem, not a Christian banner (which does exist and I don’t even like it at the Christian preschool where I taught, particularly when they said the Pledge to the Christian flag…no way).. I’m not totally against the Jewish anthem, but that seems going a step too far to me, and I’m as big an Israel supporter as you’ll meet.
    Sure, it’s a GAME, the kids don’t care, but how would we feel if a muslim anthem was sung at a school with lots of Palestinian supporters? Of course, if Islam didn’t want us DEAD, maybe I wouldn’t feel quite so strongly? 🙂

  4. Z: Very good comment. I have never seen anything like it and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. I remember being uncomfortable with my description of the crows, but it was a Christian acadamy playing against a Jewish academy. Everybody, presumably, was an American citizen. I agree with you on the Christian banner thing. In my youth as a Southern Baptist they would start vacation Bible school with a pledge to the American flag, followed up with a pledge to the Christian flag. Of course, the Christian flag was the product of somebody’s imagination.

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