Watch Out World, The Aussies Are Coming! To Israel!

I seldom watch unscripted (read: reality) TV shows, but The Amazing Race is my one true guilty pleasure: Having watched 18 full seasons of the original US version, 3 seasons of the Asian version – and zero seasons of the wretched Israeli version, I may as well admit it: I’m a fan of The Race.

And so as tomorrow begins the first ever season of The Amazing Race: Australia, including one leg of the race in Israel – you better believe I’ll be watching, and so should you:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMS6qHZRMkE
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[singlepic id=287 w=525 h=300 float=center]

The Chamber Quintet – Dachau

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRTI_yI7-Oc

A: Hello! What’s up?
B: Hey! What’s up?
A: Long time no see.
B: Months…
A: Are you coming to the party tonight?
B: The party?
A: The party. Come, it will be fun
B: I don’t know. I just got home from work. I have to shower and change clothes.
A: So, go and change. It will be fun.
B: Where is it exactly?
A: The party? It’s on ‘Gallows Martyrs’. You go by ‘Dov Gruner’, and take the second left. The first is ‘Eli Cohen’ and the second is ‘Gallows Martyrs’.
B: Can I turn left on ‘Eli Cohen’?
A: Are you coming by car? Listen to me, Drive on ‘Warsaw Ghetto’, make a U-turn, enter ‘Concentration Camps
Avenue’ and park on ‘Dachau Square’.
B: Is it nearby?
A: Dachau? It’s here, just around the corner.
  א: הלו! מה העניינים?
ב: אהלן! מה העניינים?
א: לונג טיים נו סי.
ב: חודשים.
א: אתה בא למסיבה היום?
ב: ה-מסיבה?
א: ה! תבוא, יהיה פאן.
ב: אני יודע?! רק עכשיו חזרתי מהעבודה, אני צריך עוד להתרחץ, ללבוש משהו, אני כולי…
א: נו, אז תעלה תתרחץ, תלבש משהו ותבוא. יהיה פאן.
ב: איפה זה יוצא?
א: המסיבה? זה בעולי הגרדום. אתה עולה בדב גרונר, השני שמאלה. הראשון זה אלי כהן והשני זה עולי הגרדום.
ב: יש לי שמאלה באלי כהן?
א: אתה בא עם אוטו? אז תשמע מה תעשה, סע בגטו ורשה, תעשה שם יו-טרן, תכנס לשדרות מחנות הריכוז ותחנה בכיכר דכאו.
ב: זה קרוב?
א: מה, דכאו? זה פה, מעבר לפינה.

 

Additional reading: Critical laughter – humor, popular culture and Israeli Holocaust commemoration by Eyal Zandberg – PDF in English or Hebrew

Cartography Catastrophe – Continued

Following the outcry in Israel after the Eurovision Song Contest‘s 2nd semifinal, in which Israel was the only country whose map was not shown prior to its song, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted the Norwegian hosts of this year’s contest to convey their message. During tonight’s final the Israeli map was indeed shown – albeit missing the west bank. Sources in the MFA told Ynet that they insisted Israel “will be shown as a country with borders, and not some amorphous entity”.

Graphics shown in the ESC’s 2nd semifinal::
ESC 2010 - 2nd semifinal - Israel
Graphics shown in the ESC’s final::
ESC 2010 - Final - Israel

I realize that all this might seem like some kind of a bizarre Rorschach inkblot test, making too much out of a graphical element, but I think flags, anthems and maps are important symbols of independence, and it seems every now and again someone figures Israel is fair game.

Cartography Catastrophe

Did you watch the European Song Contest‘s 2nd semifinal last night? Did you notice it? It came and went really fast, but did you manage to notice how Israel was wiped off the map?

Before each live performance a short video clip about the participating country was shown, but right before that video some on-screen graphics created the map of each country. Yes, each country but one: Israel.
Right before Harel Skaat took to the stage, the same yellow graphics that filled the screen for each other country, that graphics was now squished to the side and quickly disappeared.

Did the 62 years old Jewish nation get the shaft? Did The Jew Among Nations got the regular treatment? Serbia, a country that got its independence less than 4 years ago got similar treatment in the 1st semifinal; Does that fact make it better or worse?

Here’s the video (Don’t blink during the first few seconds):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqmjDtTAz24

Screen captures for each participating county after the jump:
Continue reading Cartography Catastrophe

My Candidates for WIZO’s Sexist Israeli Ads for 2010

After covering WIZO’s newest annual tradition of giving out a most-chauvinistic-ad award (2008, 2009), I thought I’d one-up myself and actually suggest a couple of ads for next year’s shaming ceremony. Following are two TV spots that caught my eye, one is gratuitously sexual in a let’s-find-an-excuse-for-leering kinda way:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f65xVB9cPs

Israeli Lottery – Gitam BBDO

The other is much less overt, much more complex, filled with misogynistic messages about work, kids, shoes and dieting:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q2hQ41iqsU

Osem’s Lachmit whole wheat cracker – Gitam BBDO

I should probably mention that I have discussed these ads with a couple of female friends who did not see anything particularly shocking with these ads. They did note the ads’ sexist nature, they just didn’t think it was any different from most other Israeli ads.
Obviously, I disagree.

Kamm Read All About It – Anat Gonna Tell You Again!

Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronot had published today an article that discusses what cannot be discussed in Israel. In a brilliant act of respectful defiance, the newspaper translated to Hebrew The Daily Beast‘s article by Judith Miller, but redacted any details that might get the newspaper in trouble. What readers got, in fact, was a piece of art, a visual representation of Israeli democracy in 2010.

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H/T: @DidiRemez

Update: The original title of this post was ‘COME Read All About It – I’NOT Gonna Tell You Again!’, but now that the gag order is off, I thought I would help those who did not get the word play.

Visit Israel in Spite of Our ‘Visit Israel’ Ads

There is a long history of ‘Visit Israel’ ads that seem to miss the mark. Various organizations want the world to visit our tiny country, but apparently good intentions are just not enough, and these often result in offensive adverts. The latest spot, by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), should get some kind of an award for bad taste:

Size Doesn’t Matter – CIJA – 2010
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmdHvRxsty0

Following are a few more ‘Visit Israel’ ads you might find offensive. One thing I find common to all these ads is that they all probably started as funny jokes during a brainstorming session, but there were probably no adults in the room to say “Ha, ha… very funny, now let’s think harder”. Some of these were specifically aimed at quote-unquote going viral, hoping for a lot of FW: FW: FW: THIS IS FUNNY emails.

Un-holy Israel – Keta Keta – 2007
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjmkuIqvl8w

Indeed – Israel at Heart – 2005
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4-l8XfpkC0

WIZO Announces Most Sexist Israeli Ads for 2009

The Israeli branch of WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization established in 1920, continues its annual tradition of announcing the most chauvinistic Israeli advertisements created during the past year. The worst ad will be announced during International Women’s Day, but the top ten finalists were revealed last week. Following are the most sexist TV spots of 2009 and while they are in Hebrew, sexism transcends language barriers:

Tempo’s Goldstar beer – McCann-Erickson Israel
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8goTtVdOblM

Israel Post – Glickman-Nettler-Samsonov
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SLFzdafd7A

Trima’s Postinor morning-after pill – Armoni BATES
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CYKG7tMNuI

Procter & Gamble’s Fairy liquid – Adler, Chomsky & Warshavsky
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enmsH6dVSXw

New Hamashbir Lazarchan – McCann-Erickson Israel
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYU3FnJRwVU

Hagigit and Jerusalem’s Train Theatre Present: Purim Shpiel in the Circus

Purim Shpiel 2010 at the Train Theatre in JerusalemThe artists collective I am part of, Hagigit, has joined the Train Theatre once again to celebrate Purim. Just like our cooperation last year, we set up a photography studio and took pictures of well-costumed kids. The parents were obviously delighted since these were their kids, but I was anxiously waiting for that one photo to transcend being cute into being really interesting. This doesn’t happen often, mind you, but it did happen before. Photos captured today can be found on Hagigit’s Flickr page.

The first day already gone, you can still join us today and tomorrow in Jerusalem. Admission is 30 NIS including the play “The Cubes Circus”. More details here.

What’s Wrong With the Israeli Internet Today? – An Update

Two years ago, while watching the film Rendition I was quite taken with Moroccan actress Zineb Oukach which I mistook for Israeli actress Hadar Ratzon. This led to my making a point about the Israeli Internet being stuck in the 1990’s, a point I seem to keep on making.

Later on I used the Israeli Screen Actors Guild as an example for Israel’s laxed approach to privacy and how, for instance, Ratzon’s cellphone number, SSN and date of birth can be revealed using a simple Google search.

Now, since most people cannot distinguish between a ‘white hat’ and a ‘black hat’, it is quite likely all this made me look like a kind of stalker. Creating a portrait of Ratzon out of her cellphone digits probably didn’t help. :)
I get that vibe now and again from people who don’t get technology. I guess it’s true what they say: ignorance is bliss. Apparently once one’s naivete has been interrupted, one sometimes gets upset.

Okay, so in two years’ time has anything changed? Not much:
1. Israel’s leading acting agency Perry Kafri still won’t spend a couple of bucks building a website for each of its actors.
2. Two years ago, Hadar Ratzon’s page consisted of three photos, one coding error and no background information. Today it boasts eight photos, zero coding errors, some background information – but also quite a few errors including some kind of “Mongols contest” which presumably stands for “monologue contest”; Plus a characterization of Ratzon’s acting part in “Rendition” as “leading role” – a gross exaggeration.
3. Two years later, the Israeli Screen Actors Guild did nothing to curtail its privacy leakage.
4. Hadar Ratzon now has an official website! Yes, I was quite happy to be notified of this glorious fact by a friend of Ratzon who built it for her (oh, but of course). Two years ago I suggested HadarRatzon.com – but apparently she went with HadarRatzon.co.il.

And so we get enough progress to celebrate with a showreal [sic]. Here’s to hoping Hadar Ratzon is taking all this in stride:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrYykvP6jMA