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August 18, 2015 7:42 am

Some Unusual – But True – News From Israel

avatar by Alina Dain Sharon /

Ben Gurion Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Ben Gurion Airport. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – Amid the usual grind of day-to-day news headlines—hint: Iran—the last few weeks have also boasted some peculiar stories that deserve some extra attention. After all, in the face of existential threats, the Jewish people could always use some comic relief. Right?

Aliens boycott Jews and Israel

The International Raelian Movement (IRM)—whose followers believe life on Earth was scientifically created by extraterrestrials aptly called “Elohim”—has issued a statement claiming that those scientists are no longer extending their “protection” to the Jewish people due to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, among other things.

Rael, IRM’s spiritual leader, said he received a message from the leader of the Elohim, also fittingly named “Yahweh,” that the Jews “have betrayed all the exemplary values of Judaism by stealing land and houses that don’t belong to you, and especially by not respecting my most important commandment: ‘Thou shall not kill.’… We ask that all real Jews leave the land of Palestine as quickly as possible.”

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Yahweh also expressed unhappiness with Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal “that could kill millions of people in one go and spark off a world war capable of destroying all of our creation.”

Oddly enough, Yahweh did not issue the same condemnation to any other group or nation, including Palestinian terror organizations such as Hamas. Nor has Israel issued threats that would indicate that it is interested in sparking a nuclear war, unlike that other country which is constantly in the news for its nuclear program and for frequently saying that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Thus, the double standard against Israel apparently extends to outer space.

Hamas leader digs his own hole by promoting pro-Israel cartoon

Dr. Basem Naim, a former Hamas health minister in Gaza, was trying to make a very important point against Israel by tweeting a cartoon accompanied by the text, “#Israel out of #UN #IsraelTerroristState.”

Unfortunately for Naim, the cartoon from the Israeli Cartoon Project that he posted was actually mocking the United Nations’ disproportionate bias against Israel. Whoops…

Beard bias

The Israeli company Super-Pharm’s razor commercial that has gone viral.

commercial for the Israeli company Super-Pharm’s “Life” razors has racked up more than 5.5 million views on YouTube. The commercial, which was even highlighted by American actor Ashton Kutcher, shows a man shaving his beard for the first time in 14 years, resulting in his family not being able to recognize him.

If you clicked to view the advertisement, you probably won’t admit that it subconsciously tempted you to become someone else and escape your mundane family responsibilities. Alternatively, you might just have anti-beard bias.

Holy cow!

Two millennia after the destruction of the second Jewish Temple, the Jerusalem-based Temple Institute wants to help rebuild it for its third iteration—which may require the breeding of a perfect kosher red heifer.

After decades of research, the institute has contracted with an Israeli dairy farmer who had independently imported frozen embryos from red angus cows and implanted them in Israeli black or brown cows. The only thing standing in the way is money. In comes Indiegogo, the crowdfunding website, for the save. The institute hopes to raise $125,000 for the red heifer project through its crowdfunding page.

As of Monday, more than $33,000 had been raised. Talk about bringing home the bacon! Oh wait, forget it… for holiness purposes, maybe I should go with “bringing home the angus beef” instead.

Record-breaking chaos at Ben Gurion Airport

Nearly 80,000 passengers passed through Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport last Thursday—an all-time record for one day.

This sounds like a traveler’s nightmare under any circumstances. But this is Israel. This means long lines, though it’s hard to call them lines because with some exceptions, Israelis don’t often actually wait politely in lines. They either push and shove, or just blatantly get in place in front of you.

It means out-of-control children running and being yelled at—but rarely disciplined—by their parents. If a child or family member is inadvertently lost, it means loud, repetitive intercom announcements like “Yossi come to the gate,” without much indication of which Yossi is being called nor the myriad Israeli Yossis at the airport.

It means all kinds of annoyingly impatient and often rude people shouting at some poor airport worker or flight attendant over some stupid thing they believe they are owed and are being “unfairly” deprived of, because Israelis don’t like to be “frayers” (Hebrew slang for suckers).

Or imagine the following scenario: You stand and wait for the conveyor belt to move so you can get your stuff through to the security scanner. Suddenly, a man behind you grabs your shoes from your hands, shoves them aggressively into the scanner over someone else’s bag, and barks “tachnisi et ze lesham ve shalom al Israel” (which roughly translates to “just stick it in there” with a particular Israeli flair), leaving you stupefied at this blatant invasion of your personal space, a concept many Israelis don’t recognize. (“Don’t f***ing touch my stuff,” your mind screams, but your mouth stays silent.)

Well, that incident actually happened to me a few years back on a reasonably normal travel day. Of course, not all Israelis are like this. I know plenty who are not. But I can feel some sympathy for (some of) those 80,000 travelers last Thursday at Ben Gurion.

Holocaust humor: just don’t go there

This week, CrossFit “guru” Dave Driskell posted an image of himself on Instagram doing a headstand at the Holocaust memorial in the German capital of Berlin. He later apologized “for any offense the last picture I posted has caused” and said he did not understand that it was a memorial when he took the photo.

In a separate incident, leading Australian IVF (in vitro fertilization) practitioner Dr. Ric Gordon was addressing obesity on the Australian Nine Network when he said, “There were no overweight people in the concentration camps.”

“Now, they weren’t exercising a lot, they just weren’t eating,” he said.

While Driskell may have been misguided, Gordon has aptly been dubbed “ignorant.”

The real lesson? When the opportunity for Holocaust humor arises, just don’t go there.

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