Tuesday, April 13th | 1 Iyyar 5781

July 16, 2014 3:41 pm

Using Comedy to Combat Hamas: Free Shows for Israelis Under Fire

avatar by Ari Teman

The aftermath of a Gaza rocket attack on Israel. Photo: IDF.

There’s been a lot of Facebook posting lately. Anti-semites are having a field day with propaganda – a big world for “lies.” The uninformed in the U.S. and around the world pick up these comments and bash Israel, ironically using a myriad of technology developed in Israel to do so. And those of us lucky enough to know the true, peaceful, loving, generous, and creative Israel inform them of the truth. We respond to their posts, we share information. We post our support.

And we feel good for doing it. “Oh yeah! I told that idiot!” But we’re arguing with idiots and preaching to the choir while our brothers and sisters, cousins, friends, lawyers are taking rockets, and donning uniforms.

I mention lawyers because a startup I founded has an entity in Israel and our awesome lawyers at Tel Aviv’s GKH (they represented Waze) wrote to let us know it’d be “a few days” to get some paperwork to us because one of the Associates got called abruptly to the army. “Give us a few days to battle terrorists and we’ll get that paperwork to you,” (I’m paraphrasing) is officially the most badass thing any lawyer has said. Only in The Startup Nation.

And it woke me up. What the heck am I doing in the comfort of NYC when even our lawyers are donning uniforms to battle for Israel’s freedom? Citizens are running into shelters while soldiers run into danger. I realized if I solely show up in Israel when the only lights in the night sky are the stars and not rockets, then I’m a fairweather friend. A loyal friend shows up especially in difficult times.

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And while Israelis keep a smile on their face, and a tough shell, the rockets are terrorizing them. There is stress, some aren’t leaving their homes, many are afraid to go out. Our friends tell us about the stress, and there’s little “real” we can do for them 5,600 miles away.

So we’re coming. I can’t join the IDF tomorrow, but I can bring a few fellow comedians and give folks a laugh. Together with the very funny Danny Cohen from Comedy Central and brilliantly humorous Matthew Maragno from Carolines (his first time in Israel!) and Tel Aviv’s own Benji Lovitt and Yossi Tarablus, we’ll be doing shows in shelters in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Modiin.

You can get tickets for shows in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Modiin here.

If you or someone you know can’t travel, we’ll come to a shelter with 20 or more adults who speak English and do a show for you. Just fill out a request here.

The shows are free with a required 20 NIS (about $5 USD) donation to lone soldiers. 100% is donated (and if you can’t afford the 20 NIS we’ll get you and your family/group in for free) and sponsors will cover the costs of travel , venues, etc. You can sponsor here (tax-deductible).

We wish we could do more. But it’s time to get off of Facebook and *do* something.

We love you Israel and we’ll see you soon!

Ari Teman is a comedian based in NYC and seen on The Today Show, Howard 101, BBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PIX, Vh1, MSNBC, NY Times, LA Times, Time, JPost, Israel Channel 10, Australia 10, the BBC with Stephen Fry, and more. He’s also the founder of 12gurus:Charity and 12gurus:Health conferences, and the founder of the JCorps International volunteering network. He runs a startup based in NYC and Israel that will make life safer for millions around the world. You can follow him on twitter @ariteman or Facebook http://facebook.com/AriTeman

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