In late December of 2012 British consumers were horrified by the revelation that horse meat was commonly present in a wide range of food products. At first it seemed that only minor traces were discovered in burgers from Ireland – not so bad right? The Irish can handle it. But then the cold reality set in. Horse DNA was found present in vast quantities of meat products especially in hamburgers all throughout the UK. What does one do? Well clearly all the suspected horseburgers were removed from stores throughout the country and a nationwide investigation has begun.

Here in Israel, we do not fret. We have been fed horseburger for several years now. If it happens to be round, grilled, smells good and satisfies the appetite we simply think it a burger. Why?  Well before the burger they used to feed us simply loksh. For example in the eighties they told us that hurtling towards 1000% inflation is the best way to build a free economy – loksh. But at least then you knew it was loksh.  A noodle is a noodle right? Or they would say that we need to stay in Lebanon for years on end and finish the job. More loksh.

Recently though, our government has upgraded the national cuisine and added a burger next to the loksh. It looks like beef. It is so full of spices it seems to taste like beef. So it smells a bit off? 100% beef on the package, nothing to worry about. And after a few meals you know it’s horse, but who cares? Everyone is eating it. Horseburger and Loksh. It looks good. Any uncomfortable pangs and they disappear. We go back home and come for more the next day. In fact you can get your horseburger and loksh on every street corner today. A friendly man or woman, dressed in red dungarees comes up to you and hands you your burger and loksh. Free. Apparently a wealthy horse trader out of Vegas is sponsoring the whole thing.

Why am I writing this? As you know President Obama is scheduled to visit here shortly. I am concerned that our hosting government may decide to give him a horseburger and I think it’s only the right thing that he knows that Israeli beef is horse and a noodle is noodle.

I have prepared a shortlist of terms so that he can identify horse meat and loksh at any step.

Mr. President, when they say:

“Israel has the strongest army in the Middle East” its beef. Nothing to worry about.

But if they say:” Israel has the strongest army in the Middle East and we will strike Iran”, its horse. They actually mean “Israel has the strongest army in the Middle East but won’t you do us a favor and you strike Iran, ok?”

When they say: “We will freeze settlements in order to stimulate the peace process” its horse.  They actually mean “We will stimulate settlement in order to freeze the peace process”

When they say “We believe in a two-state solution” its horse. They actually mean “We believe in a two-state solution for Palestinians. One, a divided Bantustan type set of enclaves where they can vote and another, Jordan their natural home”

When they say “We believe in direct negotiations without preconditions” its horse. They actually mean “We believe in direct negotiations with the precondition of continued Israeli settlement during negotiation and no third party to take a bipartisan view”

When they say “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East” it’s loksh.  The state of Israel within its recognized international borders of the green line is a democracy. Unfortunately the green line has faded out of text books and out of the national consciousness and half the people between the Jordan and the sea do not have the right to vote.

When they say “We have the most moral army in the world” this is also loksh. They actually mean “We think we have the most moral army in the world but we haven’t actually done a morality test comparing the Finnish army, the Swiss Army, the British army the……”

When they say “there is no one to talk to on the other side” its horse. They actually mean “Abu Maazen is a non-violent leader who is building institutions of statehood and civil administration and we have no idea how to deal with a Palestinian entity that is not an enemy”.

When they say “We will not negotiate with Hamas. They are terrorists” it’s a full plate of horseburger and loksh. They actually mean “Every time there is conflict with Hamas we negotiate and give in to their demands but please don’t you guys do that, ok?”

It goes on and on so my simple recommendation is this: do not touch anything they try to feed you. You will be lulled into our national sense of apathy and well-being and find yourself reading the Horse Traders Daily on Air Force One back to Washington…and we will be left alone.        With horseburger and loksh.

With best regards,

JZ

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