The Schmooze

Israelis Resolve One Conflict: Rachel and Ross From ‘Friends’ Were On A Break

Finally exploiting the fact that it’s really easy to rhyme in Hebrew, Israelis took to Rabin Square wielding protest signs and chanting on Saturday night.

“One, two, three, four — they were on a break!” shouted the mass of around a hundred young Israelis.

The protesters were up in arms about a broken cease fire between warring nations: no, not Israel and Palestine but Rachel and Ross, characters on the TV show “Friends,” whose fractured relationship stems from what Rachel believes is infidelity and Ross famously claims was, “a break.”

“Friends” is an unlikely staple of Israeli culture due to relentless syndication by Israeli networks. Amir Barkol told The Jerusalem Post that the protest germinated in a thread on the popular Israeli Facebook page Am;lek (the Hebrew version of the internet phrase “too long; didn’t read/TL;DR”) and caught on through social media.

“You hear about all those important protests and it made me think — why can’t we protest less important things?” Barkol said, adding, “It was just a joke.”

Protesters took the event with the intense seriousness of, say, a protest in Rabin Square. One woman canceled her flight to Australia, citing the protest. She called it “well worth it.” On Galgalatz, the IDF radio station, a protester announced, “This is a demonstration for freedom; for the sons of Israel who left Egypt to watch “Friends” to find out that Rachel is angry with Ross because he was with somebody else while they were on a break!”

Despite an Am;lek administrator’s insistence that the protesters should go home and stop taking a joke so seriously, Barkol has no plans to stop speaking out against injustice. Considering his next steps in his assault against NBC syndication, he told the Jerusalem Post, “Hmm, Chandler was always my favorite. Maybe we should do a protest so Monica won’t be so hard on him. He’s a good man and he loves her, although he can be an idiot from time to time.”

Oh Israel. When you protest “Friends,” you protest Rachel’s treatment of Ross. When you plan a second protest, you make it about Monica’s treatment of Chandler. If you ever decide to protest the way your country treats women, here are some ideas for signs:

IF THE UGLY NAKED GUY CAN STAND AT HIS WINDOW I CAN PRAY AT THE KOTEL WEARING WHATEVER I WANT

THE ‘CENTRAL PERK’ OF LIVING IN A JEWISH STATE SHOULD BE TOTAL EQUALITY

“I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU WHEN THE RAIN STARTS TO POUR” IS WHAT WOMEN ADMINISTRATORS WILL SAY WHEN THEY ARE FINALLY ALLOWED TO SERVE ON THE RABBINIC COURT

LET’S SAY “HOW YOU DOIN’” TO A CULTURE THAT PRIZES EQUALITY OVER TOXIC MASCULINITY

THE ONE WHERE THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T FUND A CHIEF RABBI WHO CALLS IMMODEST WOMEN “ANIMALS”

COULD I BE MORE INSISTENT THAT ONE FEMALE PRIME MINISTER IN 69 YEARS IS NOT ENOUGH?

Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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Israelis Resolve One Conflict: Rachel and Ross From ‘Friends’ Were On A Break

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