Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
News

Introducing the Israeli Onion, a Satire Site for the Middle East

The headlines are shocking.

Muslim women “Demand Criminalization of Fat White Men in Speedos.” The Islamic State announces “Activities for Kids in Heaven.” “Palestine to Legalize Weed, Become the ‘Occupied Holland of the Mideast.’”

And following each headline is a short story — delivered in cool newsroom deadpan.

Introducing Israel’s answer to the Onion, the American satire site — the Mideast Beast.

The Israeli website churns out satiric news stories daily — most of them bizarre or macabre spins on various Middle East wars or conflicts — has writers in Israel, North America and Europe.

The site is not only about Israel, the founder A.E. Stahl said in an interview with the Israeli Forever Foundation, but about the entire region, which is “most often viewed in a negative light, an area that is experiencing constant political instability.”

“We poke at those issues, at times to show how ridiculous the political behavior can be but also to show that we know how to laugh at ourselves, no matter how sensitive a topic may be,” said Stahl.

That much is clear.

“Four Horsemen Arrive in Jerusalem for Urgent Discussion,” one headline reads. Or take this one: “Conspiracy Books Led Bin Laden to Question His Own Involvement in 9/11.”

“The Mideast Beast, while a satire and comedy news site, also serves as an anti-extremism tool. The former two comprise the essence of what we do, whereas the latter remains one (of many) of our goals,” Stahl added.

For sure, the site also has a serious side — starting with its founder.

Stahl has a background in military strategy and counterterrorism. He also runs a number of publications on the subject of military strategy, including the Infinity Journal and the Journal of Military Operations. He is also a former fellow at Israel’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

The Israel Forever Foundation, which is an Israel advocacy site aiming to “strengthen the personal connection to Israel” praised Stahl’s work, tagging their interview with the search terms “Celebrating Israel” and “Jewish Pride.”

In the wake of the attack of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Stahl said he still felt like satire was still important.

“What happened in Paris was truly tragic but when I spoke to a few of our writers, it only served to solidify our resolve in what we do,” he said. “Like anything in life, there’s always a risk but it’s a risk worth taking.”

Email Sam Kestenbaum at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.