Elvis In The Holy Land

The Elvis Inn

The story of the place: It's on the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv (on the right as you go in that direction; on the left for the return trip), in a little town called Abu Ghosh, named after a fellow who lived there around the time of the Crusades who collected a toll from people for, uh, guaranteeing that as they passed through the area they wouldn't be attacked by bandits. (Not that he was a bandit himself, of course. More like a sheriff, actually. One of those sheriffs from a town where the speed limit on the interstate drops to 15 mph during tourist season. Just an honest man trying to make himself a living. Of course, if you didn't pay the toll . . .) I actually have read articles about the Elvis Inn itself, and though I've forgotten their contents almost entirely, there's a residue of some memory in there that makes me think this guy started up the place just because he happened to like Elvis a lot and thought it would be cool to have a place devoted to him. For one thing, it must be saving a lot of people a trip to Graceland. (And remember, outside of Memphis, Israel has the market pretty much cornered on lands in states of grace.)

Click on each photo to ENLARGE it

Well, on to the pictures, which will pretty much tell the story. Here's the first. Apologies for the backlighting, which takes some of the detail out of the statue's front. I was there right around sunset and squeezed these off as fast as I could, and I think there's still enough here to appreciate what was there, and what it was like to be there.

Here's photo number two. In case you're curious, on the sign on the left, the white sign with the outline of Elvis on it, the Hebrew word directly above Elvis' name in English is his name in Hebrew. (Hebrew reads right to left, incidentally, the opposite from English.) I could read more of these signs for you, but most of them just say in Hebrew pretty much the same thing they say in English right adjacent. The Hebrew opposite the sign for Golf Lights, for example says (literally) Golf Lights. I mean, it's not even translated; if you sound the letters out, that's exactly what you get.

Inside this shop, along with being able to get babaganoush, you can get various Elvis Inn memorabilia--floater pens, postcards, that kind of stuff. The music on the speakers inside is pretty much All Elvis, All The Time, as you might guess.

This is probably the only Elvis souvenir shop in the world where you can get shwarma, actually.

Here's picture number three. Yeah, I'm the one [Doug Bradley] standing in front of the statue, looking like a cross between a meaningless shadow and a total geek. I actually tinkered around with the image a bit in PhotoShop to try to bring out any more detail, but there's just nothing there. And the results when you started seeing more of my face weren't pleasant, so I decided to leave it tactfully in the shadows.

You do get the sun going down over the Holy Land, though. In case you were wondering, that's facing roughly southwest. The main road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be in the background, but it's down in the crease of this valley, and the Elvis Inn is up above it. The Elvis Inn, by the way, is approximately in the parking lot of GlobusLand, Israel's version of Universal Studios. (Golan-Globus is one of Israel's biggest production companies; they actually do a lot of American films, like I think some Schwarzenegger or maybe some other action-hero films.)

Photos and text courtesy of Doug Bradley and used with permission.

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