Much attention in the last few days has been devoted to the public relations campaign led by the Israeli Ministry of Immigration … that backfired. (Read about it here.) The plug was pulled on a series of controversial commercials that were viewed by many diaspora Jews (and in particular North American Jews) as offensive.
+972 contributors weighed in on the debate. Among them was Mairav Zonszein, who noted that a connection to Israel is not something that one can switch on or off:
The ones who feel rooted here (in Israel) cannot afford to refuse to call Israel home until it embodies their ideals – rather they are already here (whether physically or emotionally) embodying those ideals every day in whatever way they see fit. They will not wait around for Israel to get better and cannot disassociate from it until it does. It is their reality, and that in and of itself makes Israel a very different place than the Israel that many are disillusioned with.
Seriousness aside, amid all of the absurdity, it is good to know that the Israeli public is not losing its sense of humor. At least two of the ads have been spoofed.
In one such piece, at an electronics shop, an Israeli tries to haggle over a price. At the end, the narrator says, “They will always stay Israelis. Help them return home.”
In another, a “boy” who wakes up his “father” by finally saying “Abba” (dad) in Hebrew ultimately engages in a back-and-forth argument. Recognizing the ‘chutzpah’ of the child talking back, the narrator says, “They will always stay Israelis. Their children will also.”
This is in direct comparison to another ad also produced by the Ministry of Immigration which drew less controversy.
It is good to know that as the Israeli government takes steps that shock many, inside the country and out, there are those who point out the ridiculous in a refreshing way.