Welcome to This Month In Jewish (TMIJ). A new monthly installment for TC Jewfolk recapping all important (and some unimportant) stories you may have seen this past month. I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to finish this article before all the Moscato is gone, so let’s get started…
Big news out of Israel. Early this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a late-night, backroom deal with his biggest rival,* ballooning his governing coalition to 94 out of a possible 120 Knesset seats.
*To be fair, saying that anyone right now is Bibi’s biggest rival is like saying the shark’s biggest rival is the Swedish Fish.
With Kadima primed to lose a boatload of seats in elections that had just been scheduled for this fall, new party leader Shaul Mofaz agreed to bring the Knesset’s main opposition party into Netanyahu’s coalition. By aligning Kadima with Netanyahu this George Bluth look-alike got Netanyahu to cancel the call for elections, ensuring Kadima another year and a half as one of the country’s largest, yet most inept parties in history. (I’m assuming a certain level of reader familiarity, here, with the Israeli political system. If all this talk about coalitions and canceled elections has you more confused than Kim Kardashian in a St. Cloud hamburger shop, read this overview. Or not. I’m not your mother.)
This announcement surprised pretty much everyone but Miss Cleo, because Mofaz had been saying for months that there was no way he would ever join Netanyahu’s government. It also angered a lot of people, naturally, because some Grinches don’t like surprises. Like the religious right, who don’t like it because this deal gives Bibi enough left-leaning votes to eliminate the exemption granted to Haredi men from serving in the IDF. I’d have a quote from one of them, but it’s hard to get them on the Internet. (More on that later.)
Rival politicians are especially furious. Shelly Yacimovich—head of Labor, now the largest opposition party—practically vomited into her microphone in issuing her statement. “This is a pact of cowards,” she said. “Nobody will ever forget this shady deal…”
Yair Lapid, a former TV news anchor, had recently formed a new party and was primed to pick up a decent number of seats had elections happened this fall. But with elections now a year and a half away, his dream of power and glory has likely died. He did issue a statement about how this move is detestable and ugly, and blah, blah, blah, but nobody was really listening.
The head of Meretz, the Knesset’s token ultra-progressive party, called it a “mega-stinking maneuver.” And the pothead down the street from Netanyahu said, “Bummer, Man.”
Some think that this deal is prelude to a war with Iran. Some think that the only person this benefits is Ehud Barak, the Secretary of Defense. Others think, well, all of the above. I don’t think Israel is any more likely to go to war with Iran now than they were before, but I do think that if war is declared there will be a lot of fresh, new, peyos-framed faces hanging around the barracks.
Speaking of peyos-framed faces, I’m gonna make fun of the Ultra-Orthodox now, mainly because they’re not around to see it. At least not the 40,000 Jews that packed Citi Field in New York to listen to their rabbis rant about the evils of the Internet. Yes, along with Avenue Q and Larry Flint, add Ultra-Orthodox Jews to the list of those that believe the Internet is for porn and nothing else.
The rally drew 40,000 men to Citi Field, which is 13,000 more people than the Mets average for home games. (Fact.) But like Mofaz and Bibi, these Jews were not without their detractors. Dozens of protestors were there, mainly talking about dumb things, like how awesome the Internet is; and child abuse.
As for the Internet, I get it; some people are so tempted to cheat on their wives that they need to be locked in a not-so-preverbial (see #4) dungeon to keep their impulses at bay. But for all the teenagers at that Pitchforks for Porn rally claiming that Internet porn leads them to cheat on their (non-existent) wives, I have some advice: Don’t cheat on your wife. Just don’t do it.
Yes, some men have an addiction and need the support of a strict religion and a hard-ass bitch wife to stay in line. I get that. Most people have no such addiction. Most men, if they cheat, do it in a moment of moral weakness, or they at least have much larger problems than unfettered access to pornography. Please don’t tell me that unrestricted access to the Internet will lead a man to cheat on his wife; it’s like blaming a house fire on the matches factory.
Finally, like a BLT at Jew Camp, here’s some stuff that didn’t fit:
Sacha Baron Cohen gave an interview as himself. He talks about how Jews are predisposed to becoming comedians because of our shared history of persecution, and how Borat grew out of reactions to the character’s antisemitism.
Gilad Shalit was on the set of Homeland. I don’t care about Gilad Shalit, but I do care about Homeland. It’s on Showtime, it’s based on an Israeli television show, and it’s gonna win a whole bucketful of Emmys this year. Trust me.
Shavuot happened. Yeah, I missed it too. Apparently it celebrates the day that God gave the full Torah to the Jews; it marks the end of the Omer which (surprise!) has been going on since Passover; and it’s one of those holidays that is celebrated for an extra day in the diaspora because we’re still a nomadic people who have no way of knowing the exact time and date in Israel. For more, consult the scrolls.
Israel plans to recognize Reform and Conservative rabbis by giving financial assistance to fifteen non-Orthodox rabbis. In a move that surprises probably no one, a group of Jews have decided that the best way to solve a problem is by throwing money at it. But kudos on the victory, “non-Orthodox rabbis.”
That’s all for this month; next month be on the lookout for these hot stories:
Netanyahu announces that he has come to an agreement with his newest minister: “This delicious cup of Chobani yogurt.”
A YouTube video goes viral where lyrics of that new pop song are changed to make it more Jewy.
And Israel goes to war with Iran. Jinx!