As some of you may know, I had the privilege of working in Israeli radio and internet for several years in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. These were the years leading up to the second Intifada and life in Israel in general, and in Judea and Samaria, in particular – was extremely tense. One story my dear wife regularly tells is how we had to travel in a convoy of cars from Yishuv Bet El to Jerusalem along the Ramallah bypass road to get to the hospital for our daughter’s birth.
As I interviewed politicians, translated and edited op-ed pieces, spoke on US-based Christian politics and religion shows, and the like, though I felt a sense of purpose in what I was doing … I always felt that I was preaching to the converted. Though in my opinion, the cause of the Judea and Samaria communities (a statement against terrorism and the Islamic fundamentalist agenda for Eretz Yisrael) should have transcended partisan Jewish political interests, the sad truth is that much of the message fell on deaf ears: I remember watching a news story that featured “Yesha” activists in Tel Aviv, trying to rally that city’s residents around the cause of the “yishuvim”, to heighten their awareness of the dangers ahead…It was pathetic: the coastal folks didn’t take the threat seriously. It’s for this reason that many in the religious Zionist camp have relocated to major Israeli urban centers, in an effort to “settle” in the hearts of the Israeli people as well as in the Biblical heartland…
Over the past couple of years, Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post has introduced a refreshing new approach to political commentary and counter-propaganda: It’s called “Latma”. You may be familiar with it from the “We Con the World” spoof of the Flotilla fiasco.
But it’s so much more than that: It’s humor that rivals and surpasses the best that Second City and Saturday Night Live ever had to offer. Much of the comedy is a scathing rebuke of internal Israel social and political life; it’s a profound critique of Israel’s bizarre dealings with the Palestinians. Latma mercilessly pokes fun at the Palestinians themselves – at every opportunity: from their simpleton suicide bombers to their Minister of Uncontrollable Rage, Tawil Fadiha….Whenever I see one of their skits, I cannot imagine what a viewer from Jenin or Um El-Fahm must think ! How can he not simply laugh out loud at Latma’s guffaw-inducing parodies ? It could just be that this is the key to making peace with the Palestinians: Instead of trying to disarm them in the classic sense of the word – disarm them by giving them a new perspective – a real opportunity to laugh – at their backwards and counterproductive approach towards the Jewish people in the modern State of Israel.