Benji Lovitt
Because the Middle East is Funny

The Middle East is funny — what you may have missed

Did you miss the news of the last week? Here are a few of the, ahem, more “interesting” Jewish- and Israel-related stories of the last several days. We wish we were making these up.

As always, if you’re going to live in Israel, you’d better have a sense of humor.   

1. Anti-Semitic Elmo

A children’s entertainer dressed as popular Sesame Street character Elmo was arrested after going on an anti-Semitic rant in Central Park last week. Adam Sandler, no relation to the movie star, incoherently said, “I’m not making money because the Jewish costume company is harassing me.” While it is unclear as to what Sandler meant by the “Jewish costume company,” sources speculate that he may have been referring to Chava’s Wedding Shop on Dizengoff.

While Sandler’s anti-Semitic vitriol was criticized by Jewish groups, it was praised by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who immediately named him “Man of the Year” and the head of the UN Human Rights Committee. Sandler’s spokesmen expect him to compensate for lost income with his starring role in the next Mel Gibson film.

2. Sexy Holocaust survivors

On June 22, a beauty pageant was held in Haifa featuring female Holocaust survivors as contestants. Fourteen women between the ages of 74 and 97 took part, with 79-year-old Hava Hershkovitz being declared the winner. Organizers called the event a celebration of life, but critics denounced it as trivializing the horrors of the Holocaust. Hershkovitz was quite emotional to have won, especially following her disappointing 4th place-finish as Miss Treblinka 1942. Complicating the final results, the scores for the swimsuit competition were thrown out after judges were forced to flee the room and vomit. Other events included the talent competition, the Q&A, and manual labor.

3. Syria downs plane, thinking it’s Israeli

Late last month, a Syrian government minister defended his country’s shooting down of a Turkish plane, claiming he thought it was an Israeli jet. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told a Turkish news outlet that the confusion stemmed from the fact that both Israeli and Turkish fighter planes are produced in the US. Al-Zoebi also blamed the Zionist entity for all the world’s problems before abruptly ending the interview in order to continue killing his own citizens.

The information minister was admittedly embarrassed for the premature firing until being reassured that this was a common problem for military males. To top off his difficult week, al-Zoebi was later admitted to the hospital with a broken leg from kicking his own shadow, which he claimed was a Mossad agent.

About the Author
Since making aliyah in 2006, Benji Lovitt has performed stand-up comedy and educational programs for groups including Jewish Federations, Chabads, synagogues, Masa Israel Journey, and Birthright Israel. His perspectives on aliyah and Israeli society have been featured on Israeli TV and radio and in publications such as USA Today, Time Magazine, the BBC, and more. Benji has worked as a cross-cultural trainer with groups including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Masa Israel and is a popular presenter on the Limmud International circuit. During 2014's Operation Protective Edge, his humorous observations on the war led to his being called in Israel "the only reason to go on Facebook.”
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