Eretz Nehederet takes on Birthright
Only a few months ago, there was the controversy over the video campaign by the Ministry of Absorption to convince expatriate Israelis to come home. Whether due to lack of understanding by the makers of the videos (claim critics) or over sensitivity by those offended by the videos (claim advocates), the results proved that we don’t really see each other in the same we see ourselves.
That’s why it’s good for someone to come along once in a while and flatten the playing field by being so offensive that you can’t help but laugh. And that someone this time is Eretz Nehederet, the irreverent Channel 2 comedy/satire series poking fun at current events, national leaders, and in this case of the premiere of its ninth season last week, the Birthright/Taglit program.
As Haaretz put it, “In a rare jab at visiting Diaspora Jews, Israel’s premier satirical television show, Eretz Nehederet (A Wonderful Country), took on Taglit-Birthright Israel during its Monday night season premier.”
The skit in question follows a Birthright group as they travel by bus through the country accompanied by an Israeli guide.
You’ve got all the Diaspora Jewish stereotypes, as seen through Israeli eyes – the Jewish American Princesses, the partying, vulgar frat boys and the drug and the sex-addled South American participants.
Cynical to the nth degree, the skit – conducted in a mixture of Hebrew and English -manages to make fun of American Jewish allegiance to Israel, Birthright’s use of Holocaust guilt to encourage the participants to hit up their parents for contributions, and the cocky Israeli mentality as portrayed by the tour guide whose bravado gets him blown up by a land mine.
The skit (available here at least temporarily) loses steam half way through, but it’s still worth searching for in Hebrew on YouTube for its first few minutes for the setup, which provides some of the sharpest parody the show has created.
If American Jewish-Israeli ties were tenuous before this, I shudder to think where they’ll go after the sensitive American Jewish community views this.