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Run up and down

Run down and up

By ancient Israelites and classical Romans

But not Africans or Middle Ages Europe

Till today in every building

The electronic alternative is in use. Yet this remains in every building.

Who am I?

A pun:

Don't look to closely at the spelling.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

How about

Stairs

Run up and down / run down and up

You can run up and down stairs

Israelites/Romans/Africans/Middle Ages Europe clue

Not sure. I can't (easily) find anything to corroborate the regional history of stairs across the world, but since this is the only clue that I can't totally fit, I'm still sure "stairs" is correct.

The electronic alternative is in use. Yet this remains in every building.

There are elevators and escalators now, but there are also still stairs

Hint:

look could be another word for the homophone stare

PLUS

"Up" in the title, one of the two most common directions for stairs to go

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3  
"one of the two most common directions"... as opposed to the other less common directions? :) – Alconja Feb 17 at 5:03
8  
@Alconja There's a guy on the phone asking for you. Says his name is Escher. – Will Feb 17 at 9:01
3  
@Alconja: Also Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof: "There would be one long staircase just going up, and one even longer coming down, and one more leading nowhere just for show..." – Darrel Hoffman Feb 17 at 14:22
1  
@question_asker Bungalows are the contradiction to "Yet this remains in every building." – Ian MacDonald Feb 17 at 16:04
3  
@IanMacDonald aha! thank you for clarifying. I'm counting that as creative license - they remain in every building they were in in the first place. The electronic alternative has not replaced them. – question_asker Feb 17 at 16:07

Guess:

A tablet

Run up and down...Run down and up

When writing and reading a tablet, your eyes/hand go down and up on it.

By ancient Israelites and classical Romans

Both of these cultures used tablets as a primary method of writing.

But not Africans or Middle Ages Europe

Other forms of writing were used, such as paper.

Till today in every building...The electronic alternative is in use. Yet this remains in every building.

Electronic tablets such as the iPad are common today, and can be found in almost every business or house.

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2  
"Yet this remains in every building" seems like OP means to say is that the thing he talks about is still in use. A non-electronic tablet in use in every building? – Mave Feb 17 at 14:17
    
@Mave it could be referring to Street Name Tablets, some cities, including the one where I'm living have these sort of stone tablets on buildings with Street Names such as this from Rua Augusta, Lisbon - cache1.asset-cache.net/gc/… – Oak Feb 18 at 1:11

My guess is:

A Line

Run up and down / Run down and up

That's how to draw a line with a pencil

By ancient Israelites and classical Romans / But not Africans or Middle Ages Europe

Possibly numeral systems? Both Roman And Israeli numeral systems contain vertical lines as numbers (I, II, III etc. for Roman, Hebrew number 6 is a straight vertical line), whereas African and European numeral systems do not.

Till today in every building / The electronic alternative is in use.

Electrical lines are in every building (not sure if wires or telephone lines are meant by this)

Yet this remains in every building.

Building lines are regulation to make sure buildings do not cross into the street or onto someone else's property.

A pun:

"A Line" sounds like "Align", which means to be the correct orientation (or "This Way Up!" from the question title).

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ancient Israelites had lines for numbers?? ...please try and provide proof – Ben Feb 17 at 15:29
1  
@Ben the Hebrew numeric system used the letter 'vav' for 6, which is a straight vertical line. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_numerals#Main_table From what I can tell European and African number systems have no equivalent (1 is close, but written properly it has a 'hat'). – Mike.C.Ford Feb 17 at 15:36
1  
The 'vav' also has a 'hat' when written correctly. The wikipedia article writes it as it would look in script fashion... – Ben Feb 17 at 15:42
    
Just to be clear - I think you're answer is great! Only I don't think it's the correct one as it doesn't fit every clue.... – Ben Feb 17 at 15:43

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