The Jewish Channel has a scoop about an Israeli ad campaign urging Israelis living in the United States to return home.
Two of the three videos created for Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption take a negative approach to Jewish life in America. In one, an American granddaughter tells her saba and savta back in Israel that she celebrates Christmas; in another, an Israeli girl’s English-speaking boyfriend doesn’t understand why she is so upset on Israel’s Day of Remembrance for fallen soldiers (suggesting not only that there is a cultural gap between the two, but that said boyfriend is a bit of a moron).
Jeffrey Goldberg complains:
I don’t think I have ever seen a demonstration of Israeli contempt for American Jews as obvious as these ads. I understand the impulse behind them: Israel wants as many of its citizens as possible to live in Israel. This is not an abnormal desire. But the way it is expressed, in wholly negative terms, is somewhat appalling. How about, “Hey, come back to Israel, because our unemployment rate is half that of the U.S.’s”? Or, “It’s always sunny in Israel”? Or, “Hey, Shmulik, your mother misses you”?
Goldie Cohen, an elderly Jewish lady from New York, goes to her travel agent. “I vont to go to India.”
“Mrs. Cohen, why India? It’s filthy, much hotter than New York, it’s filled to the brim with Indians.”
“I vont to go to India.”
“But it’s a long journey, and those trains, how will you manage? What will you eat? The food is too hot and spicy for you. You can’t drink the water. You must not eat fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll get sick: the plague, hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, malaria, G-d only knows. What will you do? Can you imagine the hospital, no Jewish doctors? Why torture yourself?”
“I vont to go to India.”
The necessary arrangements are made, and off she goes. She arrives in India and, undeterred by the noise, smell and crowds, makes her way to an ashram. There she joins the seemingly never-ending queue of people waiting for an audience with the guru. An aide tells her that it will take at least three days of standing in line to see the guru.
“Dats OK,” Goldie says.
Eventually she reaches the hallowed portals. There she is told firmly that she can only say three words.
“Fine,” she says.
She is ushered into the inner sanctum where the wise guru is seated, ready to bestow spiritual blessings upon eager initiates. Just before she reaches the holy of holies she is once again reminded: “Remember, just three words.”
Unlike the other devotees, she does not prostrate at his feet.
She stands directly in front of him, crosses her arms over her chest, fixes her gaze on his, and says: “Sheldon, come home.”