Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Anthem for Everybody

Yes, dear friends,it’s that time of the year again,
Yom Ha-Atsmaut, Israeli Independence Day. Time to get out our blue and white flags, decorate our cars, and be proud of this tiny miraculous nation of ours. Stand up, sing Hatikva, swell your heart, shed a tear.
But what about the minority groups living in our midst? Christians and Muslims, Bedouins and Druse, Whether or not they serve in Zahal (and many do), it’s their country too. They are Israelis. But what have they got to sing about on Yom Ha-Atsmaut? 2000 years of longing? An eye towards Zion? The unquenchable Jewish spirit? I don’t think so. We can talk integratsia heint biss morgn, but the Israeli national anthem is just non- accessible to non-Jews.
Don’t think I’m advocating scrapping Hatikva; I’m not. Sing it high and sing it loud, I’m a Jew and I am proud. Nevertheless, the inability to sing a common anthem on independence day is the wedge ( some might say ‘wedgie’) that is driving us apart. And, no, I don’t think “Yafyuffa, Bo’ee ely, tnee li nishkka all hasfatayyim***” is going to do the trick. And so, I have courageously undertaken this difficult challenge to pen an anthem we all can sing.. So far, it has met with very warm response; I’ve had my car torched by Jews, Moslems, Christians and Druse on alternate Sabbaths. Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, for the first time ever…

***this song, a recent number 1, is sung in Arabic accented Hebrew and means, Hey, sweetie, get over here and give me a kiss on the lips.
A National Anthem in two voices -- for two nations:
המנון בשתי קולות -- לשני עמים

(Tune: Hatikva. I assume you are all familiar with it. Jews sing the blue words, Arabs sing the red words, and everybody sings the black words. )
PS: Henceforth ‘Arab’ refers to all Arabic speaking minorities )

We share one tiny country, the Arab and the Jew
How can we sing a birthday song to you?

We eat the same Hummus, swear a common CUSSSSSSS--,
Sing for the country that is a home to us.

Though we share a blue toodat zehoot
(At the same time: ) : Jews: We are proud / Arabs: We are sad

on yom ha-astma oot!!

To live freely on our own homeland,
Arabs : With el Kuds--
Jews: no cuts--
(all: )Yerushalayyim!

(repeat, or for Arabic speakers, rebeat) To live freely on our own homeland,
Arabs : With el Kuds--
Jews: no cuts--
(all: )Yerushalayyim!

Second verse
Jew: It’s a Jewish country, where all the Jews belong,
If you want to join us, you gotta sing our song

Arab: They tell me wave the flag, but I don’t feel so good.
Though I draw the line at Itbach El Yahood!!

All: (Simultaneously: We / you) say Hashem Gadol,
(you / we) say Allllah Akbar,
(Simultaneously: We /you) have the hitnatkut,
just like (you/ we ) have Nakba!

All: Peace in a Pita, whole or cut in Hetzi,
Jews: but no cuts,
Arabs: El Kuds !,
All: Yerushalayyim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
All: Peace in a Pita, whole or cut in Hetzi,
Jews: but no cuts,
Arabs: El Kuds !,
All: Yerushalayyim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Barry Silverberg,
Kiriat Shmona, Month of IYYAR, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Silverberg/ 2010

.קם עלינו לכלותינו

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


(In Every Generation)
A Passover Fantasy by Barry Silverberg,
Kiriat Shmona, Pesach, 2010.

The Oval Office of the White House, March, 2010: Increasingly fractious relations between the US and Israel hit a low unseen in nearly two decades yesterday after the Jewish state rejected President Obama's demand for an end to settlement construction in the West Bank. President Obama responded by suggesting that Israeli intransigence endangers America's security. The dispute reflects the depth of the shift in US policy away from accommodating Israel, and towards a position much more favorable to the Arabs.
Here is a behind the scenes glimpse into the heated interchange between the president and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. . .

Obama: Now hear this! Prime Minister Netanyahu! On behalf of the USA, I demand an immediate freeze on all settlement activity outside the 1967 borders. To continue the settlement policy is contrary to the security interests of the US.

Bibi: We have already called for a freeze in construction, but have seen no softening of the Arab positions. Meanwhile, in communities with a combined population of half a million, young couples cannot find places to live. There are no new kinder-gardens for the children who were born there.

Obama: It’s time that Israel shows a concern for peace, not land grabbing.

Your government’s decision to approve new construction in Jerusalem is a slap in our face.
Bibi: You can’t view Jerusalem as just another settlement!

Obama: Yes I can!
Bibi: No you can’t. Mr President, Jerusalem is our capital city. We will build in Jerusalem as we build in Tel Aviv. As your countrymen build in New York.

Obama: Oh yeah? America will withhold strategic arms shipments and you will find yourselves outclassed in the next military confrontation!

Bibi: You don’t realize the size of the mistake you are making. I can promise you that if you continue this anti- Israel policy, you and all America will suffer dire consequences.

Obama: You can’t talk like that to the President of the USA! Get out of here ! Come back when you’re ready to listen to reason.


Bibi : Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (exits)

Hilary: What nerve.

Where does he get off threatening us? (screams) EEEEEEEEEEEEK!
Staff members: What?
Hilary : I just stepped on something gooey! Ugh! It’s -- a frog!
{ribbit!} {ribbit!}

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: Jesus H! There’s a frog on my desk!

Obama: Joe! Joe! Get the cleaning staff in here! They’re all over the places!

(Biden runs in with a broom. Hilary keeps screaming: Other staffers start chasing the frogs and collecting them in garbage bins)

Nancy Pelosi:(pulls frogs out of blouse, pockets ) Sir! Reports are coming in! There are frogs in every room in the White House.--

Obama: David: Give me a handle on this situation:

Senior Advisor David Axelrod: Mr President, stay focused! There is nothing to worry about. I have a plan. Do you like frogs legs?

Obama: love ‘em.

Axelrod: Can you eat a whole bunch?

Obama: Yes we can!

Axelrod: In ten minutes, I’ll have every frog leg in this room stir fried. Outside is a CNN news team. We’ll have shots of you biting into a frogs leg on every screen in the country; Americans will see you sinking your teeth into this threat to the nation.

Obama: (relaxing) Thank you David, for your characteristic calm in a crisis. Now, everyone take it easy don't fall into water-cooler gossip surrounding the White House
Unidentified aide: Uh, Mr President Sir!
Obama: What is it now? ( He is by now chewing on frogs legs and passing them around).
Aide: About the water cooler.

Obama: What of it?

Aide: There’s something wrong with the water cooler. What’s all this red stuff coming out ? It smells like--

Obama: Call the white house plumber and get me a glass of water. Now, what do we do to make Israel toe the line? (scratches his head). Hmm, snub him at a press conference? No, too nasty. … … My head ! It’s suddenly so itchy! ( other staff members start scratching and try to pretend there is nothing wrong). Ms Pelosi, check out my scalp for a moment.

Nancy: (Takes a look) I’m afraid you‘ve got lice, sir! Gross!

President: Lice! That’s insane! I haven’t had lice since grade school.
(Axelrod picks a whopper off the president’s head) What do you say now, sir?

Obama: Yaaargh! Get them off me! And I want to see Sasha in here right now!
(Sasha Obama is brought in a sterile glass cage carried by 6 secret service men wearing biochemical warfare suits) Daddy! Get me out of here right now! I don’t have lice , I don’t , I don’t!

Senior Advisor David Axelrod: Mr President, stay focused! There is nothing to worry about. I have a plan. Do you like lice?

Obama: Noooo! We’re not going there! ! Robert! Where the hell are you? (Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is trying to get bloodstains from the water cooler off his shirt) Update the Health Care bill: Allocate 12 million extra for ‘Crew’ and ‘Rid.’ We’ll shampoo the whole lousy country! -- Omygod! WHAT’S THAT!!!

(A Bengal tiger bursts into the room with the remains of Bo, the White House dog, in it’s jaws. All staff members start scratching furiously while thunderclouds from form on the ceiling overhead. Fiery hail begins to fall, leaving smoking patches on the rugs. Staffers scatter in all directions as a herd of zebras gallop by, followed by an okapi and a charging lion. A herd of goats meanders through, only to cough, turn belly up and die. General screaming and mayhem. And let us not forget the frogs. {ribbit!})

Rahm Emanuel: What’s going on here? This is no ordinary disturbance. It’s -- it’s-- like the finger of God pointing at us!

Obama: Now, don't get absorbed in the Washington finger-pointing and intrigue,
Lets not get distracted here. Gibbs! Get me Netanyahu! Get me NETANYAHU!!!!!

(Enter Bibi, in white robe and sandals, carrying a huge staff made of shittim wood.)
Bibi: Mr President, I think it’s time to reconsider the building freeze plan.
Let my people grow!