Can you explain Israel?

I was at a charity stand up show last night. And the comedian asked to an observant Jew how he explained Judaism and Israel to non-Jews.

Easy, came back the response, as “I do it all the time”. And he then rattled off a series of comments…that nobody understood. He was almost a funny (unfortunately) as the act. Case proven? 

Take a step back. Move from the theatre of life and into reality, and you will see why the queston is not as simple as it seems. Just look at what has happened in Israel in the past week or so.

In the middle of December, the country has suffered a “Biblical drought“. This enabled forest fires to spread out of control.

Another reason for the mass damage and loss of life from the fires was that Israel – a technological and innovation world leader – is running a fire brigade based on equipment from the 1980s. The public was disgusted, but it was too late for the outcry.

As for the drought, within 5 days, it was snowing in the north and waves flooded over the sea promenades in the resort of Eilat.

Meanwhile, European and American political leaders were releasing their final round of “I am fed up with Israeli intransigence – why won’t they just give in” tirade. (For a tremendous response, you may wish to read the British Christian writer, Robin Shepherd). How do these people expect that Bibi will decide on anything, when he has a government of 30 ministers from 10 different parties + one nagging wife.

As does the local business sector care about this instability? The Tel Aviv stock market hit another record high, encouraged by further overseas money. In New York, 14 Israeli biomed companies were attracting some very real attention of leading investors.

And why invest in Israel? Just look how the award-winning Glee tv programme featured some Israeli tech. This is in the same week week that Teva, a mega player in the global generic drug scene, released optimistic results for its latest Phase III research on the terrible disease, MS. (As irony would have it, a friend of mine told me 8 days ago that he had contracted the same illness).

So can one explain all this sped and diversity to a stand up comedian, who had flown in specially from America? By the way, the proceeds from the evening of humour were donated to the Kobi Mandell Foundation, which provides relief for victims of trauma and terror…….Yup, nothing is straight forward in the Holy Land.

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