Britain's ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, invited hundreds to a Friday reception at Tel Aviv's Rabin Center in honor of the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton and the queen's birthday.
The guest list included cabinet ministers, actors, business people, journalists and athletes.
Rokach Boulevard leading to the venue and the balcony of the Rabin Center were festooned with Union Jacks. A bagpipe player welcomed the guests, who were served British staples like fish and chips, and raised their martinis (shaken, not stirred ) to the young royal couple, sang God Save the Queen and Hatikvah led by singer Tzvika Pik.
Giant screens broadcast the wedding live. The guests watched quietly for an hour. That way, people who believed until the last minute that their longed-for invitation to the actual ceremony in Westminster Abbey had been lost in the mail, could take a seat on chairs lining a red carpet in a small part of the entrance hall, leading to the screen, and feel as if they were in the Abbey itself. Well, almost.
While in Britain people prayed for just a single ray of sunlight, in Tel Aviv, celebrants were wiping the sweat from their brows.
When Prince William finally managed with difficulty to place the wedding band on his bride's finger, the crowd cheered and applauded excitedly.
Ambassador Gould, who said he was pleased at the turnout, told his guests that their presence shows the interest in the wedding beyond the borders of the U.K. He also said he was proud that Britain had found a way as a nation to be a modern society and economy and yet still preserve tradition; the turnout, he added, showed the warm relations between Britain and Israel.
The guest of honor at the event, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, gave a toast to the royal couple.
"The royal family is always intriguing," said singer Pik in explaining why he thought so many people in Israel were interested in the wedding. "This is a totally historic event, an unparalleled production," he added.
When asked what he would have sung at the ceremony Pik said: "I would have chosen Elton John. I would have had him sing again in the church the way he sang in Princess Diana's memory. You don't need more than that."
Actor Rami Heuberger said he thought so many people had shown up for the ambassador's reception because "we appreciate the British sense of humor and we're aware that inviting us to an event like this has a lot of humor in it. Because what do we have to do with this? The only blue blood in our veins is the water from the Frishman beach."
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