The D&O Diary is on assignment overseas this week with a lengthy itinerary including multiple stops. The first stop on my schedule was in Israel, where I had business meetings in Tel Aviv. My timetable while I was in Israel also allowed an opportunity for a first-time ever visit to Jerusalem. As reflected in the pictures below, the Jerusalem stopover was a truly extraordinary experience.
The primary purpose for my visit to Israel was to participate as the keynote speaker at an event organized by Howden Israel, in collaboration with the Pearl Cohen law firm. The event was well-organized and very well-attended. The audience was lively and attentive – and asked a lot of questions. It was a pleasure to meet so many industry professionals and attorneys who read The D&O Diary. It was also interesting to learn about how much is going on in Israel both as far as economic activity and business development, and in terms of directors’ and officers’ liability and insurance issues, as well. I would like to thank Izik Malik of Howden Israel and Piers Davies and Lianne Gras of RKH Specialty for inviting me to be a part of this terrific event, and for being such excellent hosts while I was in Tel Aviv.
Before my visit to Tel Aviv, I spent the weekend in Jerusalem. I have to admit that I had very high expectations for my Jerusalem visit. Seeing Jerusalem is something that I have basically wanted to do my entire life. Though my expectations were high, the visit to the Holy City far exceeded my expectations. Jerusalem is an amazing place.
In some really important ways, the weekend is absolutely the wrong time to visit Jerusalem. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Jewish and Muslim sites are closed. Of greatest significance, Temple Mount is closed to non-Muslims on Fridays and Saturdays. I was not able to visit Temple Mount until Sunday morning, the last day of my stay in Jerusalem. The hours in which non-Muslims may visit Temple Mount are short, from 8:30 am to 11:30 am. The guide books warn that due to security controls the lines to enter can be very long, so I got there early to be in line when it opened at 8:30. As it turned out, the gates had opened at 7:30, so there was no line at all when I arrived. I did face a one question interrogation (in English): “Where you from?” When I said I was from the United States, the security guard waived me through impatiently. These are not the Droids that you are looking for.
After the wonder and amazement of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv required a little mental adjustment. Tel Aviv is a prosperous, crowded, busy place with traffic-clogged streets — and a great beach and great night life. Fortunately, I had time while I was in Tel Aviv to enjoy the beach.
A final note. For anyone planning a visit to Jerusalem (or for anyone who wishes to visit but who can’t travel there now), I strongly recommend Simon Sebag Montefieore’s excellent book “Jerusalem: The Biography.” The book covers the city’s complicated and multi-layered history thoroughly yet entertainingly. Montefiore reviews the city’s history from the time of King David through the Six-Days War. Reading this book substantially enhanced my enjoyment of visiting Jerusalem. It was also extraordinarily helpful in explaining the current situation in the city, as well.