Israeli Satire

By Arik Glasner

 

From the beginning of the 1990s a permanent sub-headline accompanied the satirical 

section of Nekuda, the journal of the settlers. "There is no satire on the right," it 

said with manifest irony. It also reflected the feeling of inferiority of some 

right-wing activists about the standing allegation against them. In the face of the 

conception that the right engages in action – that it gallops ahead via "horse and 

chariot" – whereas the left is immersed in creative "spiritual" activity – the satirical 

section of Nekuda tried, sometimes successfully, to fight back by unleashing 

intellectual sarcasm.

 

In fact, the Israeli right has produced a great satirist – in fact, the greatest of the 

country's satirists, if you average out quantity and quality: Ephraim Kishon. Kishon is 

a "right-wing" satirist in the European sense of the term, incorporating a bourgeois, 

capitalist outlook toward society with proud nationalism and patriotism.

A refugee from  two totalitarian regimes that shaped the 20th century, Kishon found in the nascent, socialist Israel fertile ground for savage right-wing bourgeois satire. In such satire,  "the state," with its abhorrent bureaucratic machinery, judges Citizen K. )Kishon(. It is the unattainable "castle" that makes its citizens jump agonizingly through hoops, at the end of which the gate remains sealed.

The biting criticism by the bourgeois individual Kishon is intended to topple this old world, as he perceives it, the world of "the state," the socialist-cooperative world.

 

In the "egalitarian," strike-ridden country in which the 25-year-old Kishon arrived in 

1949, in the bureaucracy-laden "state" that is failing to leap forward in the great race 

of nations because it lacks "free competition" steroids, there are inefficient public 

clerks, such as the woman in the postal bank, who try to convince those who use their 

services to stop doing so. In this egalitarian and non-hierarchical country – that is, a 

country with an inverted hierarchy – the nurse in the Kupat Holim (health maintenance  organization( is responsible for everything. What she says, goes. And no one, from the simple doctor all the way up to the minister of health, is going to contradict, let alone disobey, her.

 

The whole conception of the society as an organized community – cooperative, equal, 

unified and bland – is anathema to Kishon the individual, who saw first-hand the danger  of being part of an ostracized group and the terrible injustice that a cohesive group is  capable of doing to fellow humans who happen not to be among its ranks. Kishon learned also that the group erases the personality of those who are among its ranks, erases the possibility of an autonomous way of life and of individual pleasures.

 

The country's sticky "collectivist-cooperativist" ethos reaches the very bedrock, 

the most intimate places, of existence. In the land of equality, the guy next to you 

wipes his glasses with your shirttail. The conclusion is clear: Tuck your shirt into 

your trousers and wrap yourself in an impermeable liberal-bourgeois membrane.

 

Kishon's greatest enemies are the establishment and the bureaucracy. When people unite in groups to organize their affairs better, this is an opening to imbecility, 

wickedness, suppression and insensitivity. So, when Kishon's heroes observe the 

schlemiel who hangs out his laundry in the rain or who tries to kill mosquitoes with a 

towel instead of with a spray, they know straight away who he is. He's the "bureaucratic efficiency expert."

 

The most despicable creatures in Kishon's nightmare world are the functionary and the  clerk. They belong to the establishment, which belongs to the bureaucracy, and do not  operate in the world as rank-and-file bourgeoisie, alone and autonomously. The  "functionary" is the backward avant-gardist of the collectivist, puritanical state that  Kishon found when he got off the boat; the "functionary" talks in a high language, but is suspected of bribery and is to blame for an impossible bureaucracy. Consequently, the handling of the hijackers of the Sabena plane to Lod airport is entrusted to a government bureaucrat, who wears down the terrorists with "civilian" negotiations.

 

The only atom that Kishon recognizes as non-splittable, non-crackable and necessary is  the bourgeois individual who exists autonomously. The only social unit Kishon recognizes is the family, and therefore his preoccupation with it is so characteristic of him, as  opposed to others over the decades of Israeli satire.

 

The corruption, the schlemiel syndrome and the sloth are especially apparent at the two  extremities of the socialist-Zionist hierarchy: in the prole and in the functionary and  the politician, who is the dictator of the proletariat. These two extremities encase the  innocent member of the bourgeoisie in a pincer movement. The urban bourgeoisie is  helpless in the face of the dispensers of the various services: in the face of waiters 

who despise customers who linger at closing time; in the face of insensitive, 

unintelligent and ill-disposed police, the opposite of "the policeman Azoulai" )Kishon's creation(; in the face of "the plumber Schtukhs," whom the bourgeois, Kishon, was forced to apprehend in order to make him show up to repair the leaky faucet, and the like.

 

Pressured in this way "from below," the unfortunate member of the bourgeoisie also 

shrinks in the face of pressure that emanates "from above." There, the enemies of the 

bourgeoisie are the corrupt politicians and their lackeys: the bloated, rotten and 

inefficient "public sector." The politicians, whose duty it is to ensure that the social 

body is functioning properly, are vastly remote from "the people." When a cabinet 

minister's chauffeur goes on strike along with the rest of the union of chauffeurs, the 

minister is astounded at his ability to actually walk. Overcome with amazement, he enters a  shoe store and wonders "whether everyone takes shoes here freely," which is the way he is used to having his needs met, or whether there are "waiters" that serve people?

 

The battle against the corrupt politicians is doomed to failure in advance. "Everyone 

had the feeling that this would be the decisive clash between the minister and the 

public … and so it was. On the eighth day the public submitted its resignation."

 

Kishon's Israel is "a small country that is incapable of producing taxes in the quantity the  government consumes." In a country possessing a corrupt "public sector" of this kind, managers frequently reprimand their subordinates for not having generated appropriate deficits. For example, the members of one of the many honorable and useless "public commissions" that exist  this one discussing a budget of NIS 800 million – are busy passing idiotic notes to one another: "I saw you the day before yesterday at the fairgrounds, when you were riding the Ferris wheel with your daughter. Don't you get dizzy at those heights?" Between one imbecilic 

note and the next, the fate of the public funds is decided. Handling the public's finances is  thus subordinated to the caprices and the petty "a-realpolitik" of people who are worried only  about holding on to their jobs.

 

The position of the state comptroller, the supervisor of the public sector, is thus comparable  to someone who has been appointed by his buddy to warn him about his obsessive fingernail biting. The analogy makes plain the comptroller's impotence. The friend, of course, almost immediately refuses to heed the buddy's warnings: I will eat whatever part of my body I like!  How long are we going to tolerate a parasite like this on the body of the society. 

The politicians view the public coffers as part of "their body" and do with the money as they  please.

Caught in this pincer movement – by the proletariat and the service providers on the 

one hand, and by the public sector and the politicians on the other – the bourgeoisie rebels. Like the medieval knight, like Gary Cooper, like Kishon's character Arbinka, the bourgeois individual acts alone, relying on his individualist qualities, insisting on flourishing by means of his own resourcefulness and not because he is beholden to any class / collective / bureaucratic machine / cooperative / party / ideology.

The problem is that this is an heroic attempt in a country in which every such attempt )and success( to chalk up personal  achievements is perceived as sinful. This is a country that devours its go-getters, where everyone is envious of everyone and where those who attempt to stand tall are quickly cut down to size.

 

"The whole world is fighting poverty. You are fighting wealth," Kishon rails at the 

"socialist" leadership. In such a country, the most profitable industry is misery and 

wallowing in misery. The "deprived" Salah Shabbati takes money from various media bodies for  the right to tell them about his troubles. In a country that devours its go-getters, only Arbinka, Kishon's alter ego, the dark side of the decent bourgeois type, succeeds in  surviving. Arbinka, the capitalist entrepreneur, whose "entrepreneurship" has a crooked side to it, declares he is going on a trip to search for oil in order to get rich, and finds the  coveted deposits in the fuel tanks of cars that he stops on the road.

 

Kishon, though, is a "right-wing" satirist not only in his socioeconomic approach. He is also a patriotic satirist )but not a fanatic nationalist!(. This patriotism is seen mainly in the  wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. However, what is especially interesting about Kishon's perception of the Israeli-Arab conflict is the similarity between his perception of the smart bourgeois entrepreneur who wants only "to be left alone to do things" and "to be left alone to live" amid the vast mechanisms of "the state" and "the Histadrut" )the tentacular labor federation(, who builds his life and generates his prosperity himself, without depressing collectivist frameworks – and his perception of the place of the State of Israel itself, the young and brilliant "Yisraelik," in the heart of the Semitic region, now frozen,  "bureaucracy-ridden" and "socialist."

Thus, in an "open letter" to Nasser entitled "Excuse Us for Winning," Kishon writes: "Unlike you, we, for example, are not busy coordinating our plans with a dozen allies, because we don't have a single ally in the world." 

 

The ideological-political focus of Kishon's "right-wing" satire is seen most sharply in his  brilliant satirical novel, "The Fox in the Chicken Coop." Kishon describes here the  degeneration and destruction of a tranquil village in Upper Galilee, caused by a short but fateful vacation taken at the remote site by a socialist Mapainik functionary )the Mapai  party, the forerunner of today's Labor, became synonymous with bureaucratic technocracy(.. The village is run without social institutions, has no "bureaucratic machine," each of its  residents works to further his own good, and an "invisible hand" ensures that there are no disputes between the villagers. In this "natural state," there is no need even for a "traffic policeman," as the state is described in liberal thought. In short, Ein Kamonim is an idyllic place. Until the arrival of the Mapai functionary.

 

The pompous and honor-hungry Amitz Dolniker brings about a radical transformation of the  village. He starts preaching the secrets of political organizing and the class war to the  residents. His opportunistic secretary cautions him that the class war is unnecessary in the village, as everyone is equal, an argument to which Dolniker responds with a paradox: "This miserable village is so backward that no differences that need to be annulled have as yet been created in it."

 

 

In contrast to the "right-wing" Kishon, "left-wing" satire in Israel illustrates the 

problem of why it is difficult to establish a meaningful political "social left" force in this country.

 

In 1948 – when the 21-year-old Amos Kenan wrote about the dirty wall, the wall on which those condemned to death etched their names with desperate stubbornness, and then along came the man with the whitewash and cleaned it: "and since then, children, a new chapter began in our  lives, a clean and whitewashed chapter. Don't piss on the wall"; when he mocked the Israeli government's "no choice" policy and likened it to the man who gave a cow glass to eat and then, "having no choice," burned the animal; when he described sheep with steel teeth and  shiny talons that forced a lone and hungry wolf to the ground – when he did all this, he was representing the worldview of the left. The Israeli self-righteousness, which likes to describe the violent actions of the state as acts of defense of the few against the many, which is bent on "whitewashing" or plastering over the Palestinians' fate, is subjected to scorn and derision.

 

However, the same Amos Kenan also engaged in "social" satire. In a powerful passage, he  described Israeli conformism through the story of Danny, who does what everyone else does. Kenan told about Danny, who "in fourth  grade joined a youth movement and served in it for 10 years," and later took his own life because he was so lonely, "and to this day no one can understand how he did it alone."

 

The same Kenan was also critical of process of "bourgeoisification" and degeneration in the  Israeli society. For example, in a story about two friends, former kibbutzniks, who became wealthy and hired employees to argue among themselves about financial affairs, while they conversed about "culture and art." Years pass and the two friends hire more employees, who converse about the latter instead of them. "In the morning our two employees would meet to clarify the financial side of friendship – and in the evening, our two employees would meet to talk about the crisis of the young generation."

 

Like Kishon, Kenan is critical of "the Histadrut," but his critique originates from a 

proletarian posture, not a bourgeois one. "Once upon a time there was a Hebrew worker. He was in the majority. He had a majority in the government. He had a majority in the Histadrut. He had a majority in the Jewish Agency. He had a majority in Solel Boneh ]the Histadrut construction company[. There was only one place where he was in the minority – next to his machine in the factory. Because there the government had a majority and the Jewish Agency had a majority and the shipping companies had a majority and the Histadrut had a majority and all of them had a majority."

 

This two-headed, "left-wing" satire was also given expression in the 1970s television 

program "Nikui Rosh" )literally, "Cleaning the Head"(, which engaged in "political" satire and "social" satire )though here the class-proletarian position, from which the satire is hurled, is less clear-cut than it is in Kenan(.

This is how the fraud of the ostensible Israeli search for peace is presented in this program. "We don't want peace, we want to go wild," the Israeli politicians sing with absurd foolishness, in a play on the words of a popular song, "We don't 

want to sleep, we want to go wild."

 The Israeli-Arab conflict overall is presented as an idiotic children's quarrel )and, by the way, on "Nikui Rosh," both sides are depicted as petty and stupid, not only the Israeli side(. 

At the same time, the satire on the program is leveled at social issues as well. When the  indigent junkie enters the bourgeois holy of holies, the parlor at tea time, and asks for  help, the insensitive bourgeois hostess tells him, in a heavy Polish accent: "From my taxes they should distribute drugs?!" One of the guests, more soft-hearted, recommends to the junkie that he suck mints, or maybe "read a good book," in place of the drugs. When the junkie explains that that will not help, the elegant hostess says, offhandedly, "Fine, then die."

 

Israel's transition from a socialist state to a country with a developed and erratic 

capitalist economy is translated by this TV show into a play of the kind that used to be  performed in the early days, in "the ]metaphorically[ little Land of Israel," on agricultural holidays such as Sukkot and Shavuot. One by one the actors take the stage and with the naive pride of children, proclaim: "Yaron planted a melon," "Anat grew a carrot" and  so on. Finally, at the end, a corpulent, cigar-puffing type takes the stage and declares, in a hoarse voice: "The wholesaler Gil has made a killing." 

 

In a takeoff of "Modern Times" on this program, the workers are told that they must "tighten  their belts." When they rebel, a government representative appears and explains to them in dulcet tones that even though he is their representative, the capitalist owner is having a hard time and they have to show consideration for him.

 

This classic, two-headed Israeli "left-wing" satire was greatly strengthened after the 1967  Six-Day War, when "social" satire osmotically permeated "political" satire to the point where the two types merged. The reason for the process was simple: The conquest and occupation of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip brought about a merging of the backward Palestinian economy with the Israeli economy. Now it was easy to portray the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict as being a class war. The Israeli who exploited the Palestinian worker became the ugly bourgeois type, supplanting Kishon's bureaucratic bourgeoisie in that role.

 

In his 1970 satirical revue "Queen of the Bathtub," playwright Hanoch Levin )1943-1999(  created this "merger" in the form of the Palestinian worker, Samatokha. Other parts of the   revue dealt with "classic" themes of "left-wing political" satire, such as the Israeli  self-righteousness reflected in a monologue recited by a Golda Meir figure: "For 71 years I've been examining myself and I discover in me such righteousness that God only help me. And every day it surprises me anew. I'm right, right, right and right again." Levin also cruelly exposed the brutality that underlies the daring warrior with a "pure soul," the war hero, who says: "]I[ envelope myself in a hard shell only to cover up my inner soft-heartedness and my gentleness."; and Hulada Davar who was chosen as the "charmer of the Paratroopers …thanks to my solid yet flexible breasts" and who beneath those breasts conceals a sensitive 

heart and who "possesses a soulful, sensitive and insular inner world- and is very fearful for  the fate of Judaism."

 

It's in the skit about Samatokha that the merger between the left-wing "political" and 

"social" satire is achieved. "We want you to meet Samatokha," say the Israeli bourgeois couple. "He's our Arab. He knows how to stand on two legs, just like us, only at home he walks on all fours. But that's not because he wants to – it's just because of the height of the ceiling." 

 

Moralistically, the couple declare: "We aren't smashing his head in because we are cultured  people." They complain to him: "Where will it all end, Samatokha? Yesterday a bomb in the supermarket, this morning in the offices of the Cameri ]Theater[. Where will it end?" When the wife points out to her husband that Samatokha didn't have anything to do with the terrorist attacks, the husband replies: "Of course I know that, but if I were a primitive guy, I  wouldn't distinguish between an Arab who puts bombs and an Arab who doesn't put bombs. An Arab 

is an Arab." 

 

Samatokha is finally rescued by a noble-hearted Israeli woman: "As the mother of three  children, one of whom is a combat soldier, and as the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I am hereby authorized to declare: Don't hurt Arabs. My husband is a contractor and he needs working hands in order to build you two-, two and a half-, three- and four-room apartments, with central heating and fittings for a telephone." 

 

Thus was completed the merger between the "social" and the "political" poles in left-wing  satire in Israel: Zionism as a bourgeois movement that exploits the workers of the world, the Palestinians. In the 35 or so years that have gone by since "Queen of the Bathtub" and "Nikui Rosh," left-wing Israeli satire shifted back to the "political." If there is effective satire in this country – and there is less and less of it – the "social" theme is almost entirely  absent from it. 

 

Here's a provocative thesis to explain this phenomenon. It might be suspected of 

superficiality, but here it goes: We are used to talking about the Israeli anomaly that creates a  political situation in which the disadvantaged groups vote for the right – that is, for  parties whose economic platform is perceived to be "screwing them." We are less used to talking about the anomaly in which, because of historical circumstances that are unique to Israel, the classes identified with the "left" are the more established ones.

 

It's only in recent years that this fact has become clear in all its acuity. For years the 

political left in Israel proudly claimed to possess social sensitivity. The contradiction 

between that boast and the deep economic interests of the country's left-wing voters led, in  this writer's view, to the left's focus of attention on the occupation. We know that in  classic left-wing theory, nationalism and religion are "opiates for the masses," which cause them to be immersed in fantasies and delusions, to avert their gaze from the real state of  affairs. The "occupation," though, is the opiate of the Israeli left, serving as an alibi for  its failure to address domestic issues and as an appropriate cover for the fact that  realization of "left-wing" social principles runs contrary to its own deepest interests.

 

The possibility that "social" satire will osmotically seep into "political" satire, the 

possibility of identifying the Palestinians as "proletarians" who are being abused by the Israeli "bourgeoisie," creates an appropriate way out for the internal contradiction with which the Israeli left lives. The ability to ignore domestic affairs, yet at the same time take pride in a patina of "social" criticism, is perfected with the identification of the  Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a class struggle. As long as the markets of Israel and 

Palestine were locked in an inseparable embrace, there was a smidgen of truth to that 

viewpoint. Since the mid-1990s, it is no longer tenable.

 

This merger was exemplified marvelously in the satirical television program "The Bourgeois."  As its title intimated, the series seemingly symbolizes the return of left-wing "social" criticism: a general, moral critique of the bourgeois value system. However, in the first two  seasons of the series, it became clear that its left-wing "social" satire was being  subordinated and merged with "political" satire, thus becoming ineffective and lurching into a dead end, exactly like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict itself. 

 

"The Bourgeois" is not a series that belongs to the basically European tradition of critiquing  the "bourgeoisie," a tradition that begins, at the latest, with Balzac's "The Human Comedy" in the second third of the 19th century. No. "The Bourgeois" utilizes that tradition, the  tradition of economic-class criticism, and especially the aspect of that tradition that emphasized bourgeois greed and its implications, to critique modern Jewish nationalism and Zionism. As such, the series is an example of the osmotic process by which "left-wing" social satire seeps into "left-wing" political satire. One of the episodes in the first season of the series illustrated well the integration of the critique of the bourgeoisie and the critique of Zionism.

 

The episode had two plot strands. In the first, Israel )Dov Navon( goes to Switzerland in  order to "save" the money of the Holocaust survivors. He spends the evening in the company of  two Mossad agents, without knowing they are agents. In the end, he is imprisoned with them by the Swiss authorities for engaging in espionage activity that subverts Swiss sovereignty.

 

In the second strand, Nili )Tamar Michaeli( tries to dissuade Benny )Shai Avivi( from opening a store to rent pornographic video cassettes. The background to the argument is an  investigation by the income tax authorities that found problems with Benny's tax returns. Defending himself, Benny reminds Nili of her father's transgressions. Nili's father, a contractor, helped build the Bar-Lev Line in Sinai after the Six-Day War, and after the Yom Kippur War was accused of responsibility for the failure of the line to hold.

 

This episode generates two axes of signifiers. One is the "Israeli" axis, which includes the  following elements: Mossad, Holocaust, Bar-Lev Line, Yom Kippur War. All these are elements belonging to the "Israeli" semantic field. The other is the "bourgeois-greedy" axis: Israel the greedy lawyer and the money of the survivors, Benny the greedy and the porno films store, and Nili's father the greedy contractor. By means of these two axes, the episode generates cohesion between bourgeois greed and "Israeliness." 

 

Post-Zionism in part identifies Zionism with the colonial project. Zionism will therefore be  critiqued as "bourgeois," as another case of affluent Europeans dispossessing the poor, indigenous inhabitants. That's why the "bourgeois" Yoni is thrilled at an episode of "This Is Your Life" with Major General Mussa Peled, and that's why Yoni's national patronizing of his "friend" Said, an Arab – a patronizing attitude that is summed up in the sentence: "The best thing is not to make problems" – is analogous )in the same episode!( to the violence he displays at the congress center toward a worker who is carting clothes and accidentally runs into Yoni. The fusion is total. "The bourgeois" are not a sub-group in the Israeli reality, they are the essence of 

Israeliness itself in the face of the Palestinians. "The Bourgeois" is not a series that is 

interested in the distribution of capital and goods in the Israeli society; it is a series 

that judges the Israeli society as a whole with damning severity and without the right of  appeal. 

 

But of course, it's possible to separate the discussions, to decode the "merger." It can 

definitely be argued that the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict diverts attention from Israeli domestic relations – and not necessarily justifiably. After all, it can certainly be argued that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a class struggle, but a conflict between two national movements that are stubborn and probably also stupid. This perception of the conflict, especially now, when it appears to be irresolvable, makes it possible to withdraw into addressing internal affairs of the Israeli society. The separation between the  "political" and the "socioeconomic" discussion can be made, as it is in fact done in the third and last season of "The Bourgeois." 

 

What astounds the viewer in the last season of the series is the transition it makes from  satire to realism. The bankruptcy of the middle class, especially in the past three years, has generated a bitter sobering up and a turning inward. "The Bourgeois" was never an escapist series, but from garbled satire )which aimed its barbs at Israeli "colonialism"(, it became – in the wake of the recent intifada, in the wake of the realization that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not morally unequivocal and is not resolvable in the  foreseeable future, and in the wake of the deep recession – a series that turns its gaze inward, toward the distorted distribution of capital in the Israeli society.

 

That's why one of the episodes concluded with verbal violence spat out by the character played  by Rami Heuberger – and violence suits his television image – prophesying wrathfully that everyone, "the male models, the female models, Channel 2, the ad agencies, the mobile phone companies, the lawyers," everyone, "all the rich people will in the end pay for what's happening here." Accordingly, in its third season the series is trying to find an "external" pivot that will enable ethical judgment of Israeli reality.

 

One such viewpoint was found through bringing in the veteran critic and writer Adam Baruch,  with all the sophisticated irony that accompanies the use of his persona as a "wise sage," to castigate Benny for his shoddy way of life. An external vantage point of this kind is found also in the quest, albeit pathetic, conducted by Nina for an "artistic-literary" existence and  not only an economic-bourgeois one. Yet another, external vantage point is provided by Kobi, who found religion only to lose it )thus expressing the absence of a true alternative to the "bourgeois" ethos(.

 

Above all, though, the external vantage point is found in the fact that the despairing 

attitude that had hitherto characterized the position of the series and its creators, is 

raised to the level of consciousness and placed in Benny's mouth – that is, in the mouth of  one of the protagonists – and immediately becomes a dubious position. When Benny says "everything is collapsing"; when Benny, who allows his nipples to be licked by one of his models, declares, with false sadness, that in a world of corporations nothing can be changed because "everything is pre-dictated, everything is determined at a level to which we have no access," it's clear to the creators and to viewer, for the first time in the series, that this attitude, this attitude of despair, has to be treated with suspicion.

 

There is a certain new melancholic sincerity in the third season of "The Bourgeois," an  exhausted though firm settling of accounts that the characters conduct with themselves  and with their attitude toward money. There is even a kind of sour patriotism. Like "Sex and the City," "The Bourgeois" matured before the eyes of the viewers and became realistic, human, relevant and – yes, there's no way around it, it's the price of becoming grown up – became faded and just a tiny bit boring.

 

Lilach's desire to be famous, "to make it," to be a singer, is presented, and rightly so, as  part of the liberal-capitalist "Kishonist" paradigm that placed the individual who wants it all at the center. In the series' new elegiac hues this desire, too, is painted gray. The  desire to "make it big" brings with it the risk of being alone, which is illustrated when the musical director dumps Lilach in favor of the soundwoman.

 

In the last season "The Bourgeois" also makes ironic use of the theme song, "God gave you the gift of  life on this earth,". The scriptwriter, Assaf Tzipor, thinks, as well he should, that "life on this earth" isn't such a great gift. But the theme song also conceals another irony, which could be aimed at the first two seasons – the "satirical" seasons – of  the series. It's an irony that could be directed at the creators. "Give me just one more gift – peace on earth," the song is concluded. But this is precisely the self-deception of the Israeli left. The gift of peace is still apparently far off, but the Israeli reality could improve and change in other spheres, which do not depend – despite what some people are trying to persuade us of relentlessly – exclusively on the coveted "peace," on the arrival of the Latter Days, the redemption of Zion, the Messianic era, the Second Coming, Nirvana, "eternal peace" and "the end of history."

 

 

 

 

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