“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt,” the Torah tells us. Even if you are now an actor starring on one of Israel’s most popular and influential television shows, you were once a stranger. That’s just what the team behind “Eretz Nehederet,” Israel’s version of “Saturday Night Live,” reminded their viewers during the show this week.
In the title sequence for “Eretz Nehederet” (it translates to “Wonderful Country”), names of comedians were replaced by the comedians’ relationships to refugees. Where the segment at the opening of a TV show would usually flash performers’ names over their faces, the words instead read, for example, “grandson of a refugee from Lithuania.” He sits near “daughter of a refugee from Romania,” who is sitting near “granddaughter of a refugee from Libya.” The show’s performers are directly descended from refugees from Egypt, Iraq, Russia, Poland, Germany, Morocco, Argentina, Bulgaria. There is also one “refugee from reality.”
Most of the people who provide vital services in our lives — entertainment, friendship, government, education — were once refugees, just like those African migrants who may soon be deported from Israel. And so, “Eretz Nehederet” seeks to remind us, were you.
Watch the clip of the title credits here:
סחטיין עליכם ארץ, ריגשתם pic.twitter.com/7sC7ngY2VE— Shira Makin (@shiramakin) January 29, 2018
Jenny Singer is a writer for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny