Can it really be that the Knesset has found a new way to waste time and money? What exactly is the new trend that the government is doing, rather than getting things done, you ask. Is it twerking? Thank God no (but now that image will haunt you forever). Are they hanging out and holding meetings at the new Cinema City conveniently built right next door to their offices? No, because of course it is still not open, long passed its projected opening date.
The Knesset members may look like they are working, but really they are sitting around debating useless new laws. Case in point: Should we ban the word Nazi? When I first read this story, I checked to see that I was not reading an article in The Onion, a satirical website poking fun at “real news”. But sure enough, it was one of those “real news” websites and in fact this was an actual debate, taking place for real.
Forget freedom of speech (the easy argument here). I know that I personally use the word Nazi all the time. “Hey Nazi, could you pass me the pepper.” “Nazi can I get those shoes in a size 39, my feet are bigger since my second kid.” “Hey that Nazi didn’t pick up his dog’s poop, let’s go yell at him (OK that one might have actually happened).” Who is using the word Nazi so often that we really have to ban it? And who really cares? That word, especially here in Israel where dark humor is prevalent and very much a real thing, is just a word.
After my initial shock about the absurdity of this debate, I began my next phase of angry-reader-syndrome and researched the law itself. Turns out this bill has already been shot down several times before, and continues to rear its evil Nazi head time and again. This time, the bill has already passed the first round and will apparently waste more time having to go through two more readings. If passed, you could be fined and go to jail for calling someone a Nazi.
It is not that I am a Holocaust denier. I am just doing what I believe all Israelis are doing, using humor as a coping mechanism to live life. I interviewed a former writer for the popular TV show Eretz Nehederet (it’s like SNL and The Daily Show combined) and he told me something that has left a lasting impression on the way I look at the Holocaust. He said, “Nothing is funny about the Holocaust. But there is everything funny about surviving it.” We won. We own the rights to the ‘after’. We are a successful nation. A start-up nation. We are becoming an entertainment capital for movies and television shows. Justin Timberlake is coming in May, need I say more?
Why doesn’t the Knesset focus on laws that might really matter: you know stuff about rockets hitting cities or children not being able to go to school. And if that’s too real than what about laws about inflation of cottage cheese? Has no one but me noticed the prices are back up? Or how about doing something about bus drivers that see someone running to the bus stop and don’t wait the extra five seconds? Especially when that someone is me. Do something about rent control? Consumer rights? Monopolies? Sundays? Education and violence in our schools? Getting rid of prices like NIS 5.95, when the smallest change you can make is 10 agoras (and yes that was supposed to change this year, but I can tell you from every shopping experience that it has not).
Why is the Knesset wasting time and money on such trivial laws? We as a society should decide what is acceptable and offensive. In fact more offensive than the word Nazi, is the time the Knesset has spent on this matter.