Why is Israel laughing today?

All over Israel today, people are laughing and smiling…

That’s kind of ironic because honestly, we’re going through some rough times. A man who had moved here weeks ago was just stabbed. He’s 71 years old. And an 80 year old woman was stabbed too. Barbaric. Enough, after days and days of similar attacks, to bring a civilized nation to its knees in pain and anger.

And yet, late in the day, we got word that a plane was heading into Ben Gurion International Airport was in trouble and needed to make an emergency landing. That means fire trucks and ambulances were scrambled; the airport went on high alert.

This isn’t very common but it isn’t that rare and so we take a deep breath and wait for news that the plane landed safely. It came soon enough…but there was a catch.

The plane came from Dubai on its way to Amman (some reports say it was low on fuel…note to engineers: check the gas tanks before take off).

And so the jokes began…Dubai doesn’t recognize Israel – how then did its pilots know where to land?

Many people remembered the old joke about a Syrian pilot (pick any Arab country you want), asking someone to help them – he ignored an offer from Israel and kept asking neighboring countries until the situation became so desperate he had no choice.

Finally, he turned to Israel and accepted the help. The Israeli air-controller than told them pilot to repeat after him, “Yisgadal v’yiskadesh.”

Several people referenced that joke (and no, Israel would never do something like that in a real emergency…just a joke) today as we laughed at a pilot who could fly past Israel time after time until today, they needed help.

And other jokes were added in to Facebook until the final joke turned out not to be a joke at all. Ground crews took snacks to the waiting passengers aboard the plane from Dubai.

Next to bamba (a peanut-flavored snack), Israel’s favorite dessert for kids is crembos…and there’s the joke that got all of Israel laughing.

In the middle of stabbings and shootings, firebombs and stonings, rioting, ramming and more, Israel smiled because we’ve got humanity…in letting them land versus just telling them to take a hike until they recognize us; in scrambling ambulances and firetrucks to ensure that if the landing didn’t go well, our emergency forces were nearby to help. And more, we’ve got a sense of humor. I doubt anyone on the plane will ever realize the joke and in a way, that’s the best part of all. Crembo is a winter treat…one that makes kids smile.

Crembos…I love it!


About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.