Esor Ben-Sorek
Esor Ben-Sorek

Matzot and Monkeys

A cousin in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  forwarded to me a very humorous video of a group of monkeys, apes and baboons sitting in a jungle and each of them munching on slices of matza.

I sent it on to friends in Israel and asked the ultimate and important question. If these monkeys are enjoying eating matza, does that make them Jews? And if so, does it qualify them to make aliya under the terms of the Law of Return? I was sure that Bibi would be immensely happy to welcome them. More monkeys to join the Likud party.

One very educated friend in Rehovot sent this reply in Hebrew: “There will be a problem in the government and in the coalition. The machine-made matzot do not qualify for the Law of Return. They must be round hand-made shumra matzot if they are to be considered approved for Pesach consumption..

“And besides that, Trump will not allow the monkeys, apes and baboons to leave his country. He needs them and depends upon them for his re-election”.

With all due respect to the monkeys and company, there is no intention of insulting them. But it would be pleasant and refreshing to see them seated in the plenum of the Knesset, a matza in each hand.

There is so much foolishness and nonsense and verbal abuse in many of the parliaments of the world. And very regrettably, we are no exception. One member rises to speak and a dozen voices heckle and drown him out. That’s the way it is here in Israel. Manners and courtesy are frequently absent. Rudeness is a national hobby.

Speaking dugri…telling things like they are…can be told in quieter tones minus all the insults. It is little wonder that our greatest and most dignified spokesman, Abba Eban, was disliked at home and in his party. He was always the gentleman dressed in fine suits and neckties, the latter being almost unknown to members of government and Knesset. I think that a special prayer was recited the first time that people observed Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wearing a necktie.

Eban was a polished speaker, a graduate of Britain’s famed Cambridge University where he earned his degree in the classics and in Hebrew, Arabic and Persian. For his brilliance, he was disliked and sometimes ostracized by his socialist comrades.

Abba Eban was the epitome of what a Foreign Minister and our first Ambassador to the United Nations should be. He used his quotations in speeches with a sense of humor and polite chastisement. When one UN speaker from a European country misquoted historic facts, Eban replied “His ignorance is encyclopedic”.

When the UN called for a consensus on a proposal, Eban  informed the council that “a consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually”.

And my favorite of his quotations is “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives”.

Our Knesset and cabinet members and ministers cannot all be like Abba Eban but surely they need not act like monkeys, apes and baboons. We are a cultured nation and our leaders owe us the courtesy of behaving like cultured men and women.

We have no need for monkeys. But perhaps my friend in Rehovot was correct.

Keep them all comfortable in the United States in order that president Trump will have their support in his efforts for re-election in 2020.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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