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The Schmooze

Israeli Sketch Comedy Pokes Fun at U.S. Jews

It must be American Jewry season on Israeli television. A few weeks ago, everyone was talking about the depiction of the Jewish American man in the government’s ad campaign to get Israelis living in the U.S. to head “home.” Now, U.S. Jews are fodder for the most popular sketch show in Israel.

Eretz Nehederet has just run a parody of Taglit-Birthright’s trips, which bring Diaspora Jews to visit Israel and — the funders hope — develop affection for the country.

The sketch uses several stock figures. There is the wealthy Jewish-American princess who says that Israel has the feel of home… partly because it’s a similar size to her home. And there’s also the Israeli take on a frat boy. All the American participants are highly excitable, delighted when told of the historical sights — such as an oil press — they will visit, and absolutely thrilled when they learn there may be time to visit Yad Vashem.

Then there’s the Israeli tour guide who is constantly trying to talk up his country. It’s a “modern developed country,” he stresses from the tour bus’s microphone, before requesting, in a reference to the controversy about segregated busses, that the women sit at the back. He’s at his funniest when he says that at Yad Vashem the visiting youngsters should “SMS your parents to continue donating to the State of Israel so there won’t be another Holocaust, because the sequel is always worse than the original.”

Watching the sketch, you can either pontificate about what it says about Israelis’ attitudes towards Americans, or just have a good laugh.

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