|A: Hello! What’s up?
B: Hey! What’s up?
A: Long time no see.
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.
א: אתה בא למסיבה היום?
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
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:
Israeli Lottery – Gitam BBDO
The other is much less overt, much more complex, filled with misogynistic messages about work, kids, shoes and dieting:
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.
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
Israel Post – Glickman-Nettler-Samsonov
Trima’s Postinor morning-after pill – Armoni BATES
Procter & Gamble’s Fairy liquid – Adler, Chomsky & Warshavsky
New Hamashbir Lazarchan – McCann-Erickson Israel
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:
From the people that gave us the CGI recreation of Tiger Woods’ sexcapades and the Conan/Leno fiasco comes the following video about Goel Ratzon, Israel’s so-called harem messiah. Chinese language skills not necessary:
After watching the brilliant Israeli rock opera ‘War’ on stage, and blogging about it, I have been corresponding by email with musician Kobi Vitman who created it based on his experiences in 2002 as a reserve infantry soldier during Operation Defensive Shield, and the PTSD that followed. A couple of months ago, when the original cast recording was issued, I tried to convey to Vitman my own experiences as a listener and a fan of the genre, emphasizing the difficulty in trying to track down these musical gems once the curtain closes on the original show. In accordance with my beliefs about file sharing, copyright laws and my own experiences searching for recordings of Israeli musicals, I tried to push for making the entire album available online.
Well, I am so very happy to announce that as of this week, the album is indeed available online and for free. You can still purchase the physical CD, booklet and all, for 40NIS, but if you just want the MP3 files, they are now legally available on WarRockOpera.com. You can still watch the show live in its acoustic version. Check the website for details.
I saw the eye doctor
And he showed me
A cool book
Filled with pictures.
He then said
There’s something wrong
With my 3-D vision,
But not to worry
I can still lead
A full and productive life,
But when I’ll join the army
I can never be
An Air Force pilot.
At age 7,
My life was ruined.
Go back to being fabulous
Ignore the pain inside
Find some compensation
for all the love denied
After all that we’ve been through
only tears can tell the truth
– – “For All of Us” – from the musical “Closer To Heaven” by Pet Shop Boys
Last Saturday a masked gunman opened fire in a gay youth club in Tel Aviv, killing a 26 year old male and a 16 year old female and injuring eleven others, before fleeing the scene. The event rendered me speechless. I have been searching for the right words ever since and just now decided to give up that and use this platform to call people to action instead.
This coming Saturday a demonstration will be held in Tel-Aviv, supporting the gay community. Titled ‘Continuing With Pride’ this event will mark one week since the shooting and will be a more organized event, as opposed to the impromptu rallies that were held all over the country in the last few days. Singers will sing (Rita, Ninet, Ivri, Margol, Dana), speakers will speak (Mayor, ministers, MKs), but most importantly people will stand. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and loads of straights will make a stand for democracy, pluralism and freedom. Worldwide solidarity events are planned for the same time in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Bern and Madrid.
What: LGBT Demonstration
Where: Rabin Square, Tel-Aviv, Israel
When: Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 8:30pm
Why: Stand against homophobia and transphobia
Who: You, me, all of us
How much: Admission is free
I said it before: you can literally drop me off anywhere on the globe and all I need is the relevant Lonely Planet guide book to make sure I have a peaceful, hassle-free, insightful journey. I learned this while travelling in South Asia back in 2001-2002, and that’s why upon returning to Israel I also purchased the Lonely Planet guide for Israel, as I knew it would be interesting to read about my own country from the point of view of a backpacking foreigner. Following is one ‘boxed’ nugget for your enjoyment written ten years ago:
Sorry For What?
[singlepic id=210 w=320 h=240 float=right]Two recent immigrants, one from Russia and one from America, and a native Israeli are at the supermarket where they come across a sign reading ‘We’re sorry, but due to shortages we have no meat’. The Russian turns to the other two and says, ‘What is meat?’. The American shrugs, ‘What do they mean by shortages?’. The Israeli shakes his head and looks perplexed, ‘What do they mean by this sorry?’.
The Israelis tell this joke about themselves, and any visitor who’s been in the country for more than five minutes will nod despairingly at the punch line. The Israelis, as they’ll readily agree, are not hot on the niceties of social intercourse. No official or sales assistant will acknowledge your presence until addressed directly. Dining out, staff will frisbee a menu at the table, then indicate they’re ready to take the order with a disinterested, ‘Yeah?’. Likely looking places to ask for directions or timetables ward off all potential enquiries with prominently displayed ‘No information’ notices.
For those who perceive the difference, it’s not, explains writer Stephen Brook, that the Israelis are bad mannered, but rather that they have no manners at all. Faces with a waiter who shrugs aside your complaints of cold food with ‘People don’t like it if it’s too hot’, anyone might feel that such subtleties are irrelevant; but one thing to remember is never lose your temper and start shouting, because there’s nothing Israelis love more than a good row.
[singlepic id=214 w=320 h=240 float=right]On yesterday’s Friday at Five program on Israel Channel 1, the chyron read “The age of Hussein Obama“. Broadcast one day after the Cairo speech, the usage of the American President’s middle name is an obvious attempt to say ‘He sides with them now’. Taken straight out of a Fox News’ textbook, referring to the leader of the free world by the name ‘Hussein’ has gained popularity in recent weeks within the office of the Israeli prime-minister, as Ben Caspit reports in Maariv. Since the Israel Broadcast Authority is controlled by the PM office, the phrase has naturally trickled down to the mainstream media, if you can still call Channel 1 that.
Knesset Member Daniel Ben Simon was a guest on that show and pointed out on the air that the graphics should be fixed, to which hosts Kineret Barashi and Uri Levi played dumb saying that Obama himself uses his middle name. MK Ben Simon tried to explain that no one calls the previous president Walker Bush, but the hosts just smiled derisively. Here is the short exchange:
I find this derogatory use of the word ‘Hussein’ despicable, Islamophobic and somewhat childish: when the US president says things we like, we call him Baruch Obama – and when he says things we don’t like, he’s Hussein Obama?