HaYehudim Ba’im


by Asaf Beiser and Natalie Marcus

HaYehudim Ba’im (The Jews Are Coming) is an edgy Israeli TV satire program that addresses all aspects of Israeli society, past and present, from the times of the Bible to the latest news. Revisiting Jewish traditions and themes embedded in Israeli society, the writers offer viewers a multifaceted journey filled with tradition, cultural memory, and contemporary events.

Humor and satire are powerful tools. They enable us to think critically, see things from other perspectives, enlighten us, and of course make us laugh, relieve anxiety and pain, and bridge differences. At the same time, humor and satire can go too far and miss the mark for some people. Cultural distinctions and differences in communication between Israelis and North Americans abound; humor and satire might be at the top of the list, since so much of it can be lost in translation—both linguistic and cultural.

Ahead of Israel’s 76th birthday, The iCenter asked the show’s creators, Natalie Marcus and Asaf Beiser, what they are thinking about as Israel enters its 77th year. We invited them to share some clips from the show, along with their insights.

Disclaimer: Since Israeli humor and satire are direct, defiant, and exaggerated, use your judgment to determine which pieces are appropriate for your audience.


1. Consider the prompt that was posed to Natalie Marcus and Asaf Beiser for yourself. What is on your mind as Israel marks its 76th birthday? Do any of these clips resonate with you? What sort of clip would you imagine working better?

2. Interacting with the clips gives you and your learners the opportunity to be in conversation with Asaf and Natalie, as well as with Israeli history. What questions would you ask them if you had the opportunity? What do you see as the main questions that they are playing with in these clips?

3. The third sketch is based on a poem by David Avidan and is sung by actors depicting famous Israelis from history. Create a similar type of project by finding a poem or song that speaks to you, along with a list of famous people who might recite the lines. Don’t limit yourself to famous people who are still alive; HaYehudim Ba’im didn’t!

4. Discover more sketches from HaYehudim Ba’im, many of which carry English subtitles. Remember to preview them before sharing with your audience.


The holiday of Lag B’Omer is the 33rd day after Passover as one counts up to Shavuot. It is traditionally a day of celebration and a pause from the mourning customs that some follow during parts of the period between Passover and Shavuot. The holiday is also characterized by lighting bonfires, commemorating Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Another custom of the holiday involves burning effigies of enemies of the Jewish people throughout the generations, which is where this sketch begins.

When we shot the Lag B’Omer sketch, Ofer Harari—the show’s director of filming—said that this was the sketch that captures the essence of “The Jews are Coming.” He is probably right. 

This short scene sums up the entire Israeli experience: An endless list of enemies, the recognition that “in each and every generation they rise to destroy us,” the endless internal fighting with our neighbors, followed by reconciliation, and then sitting around the fire like the Hebrew song “Shevet Achim Gam Yachad” (How good it is for brothers to sit together). And everything, of course, happens in the shadow of the greatest trauma of all—the Holocaust. 

This has been true for the last 75 years, and this, most likely, is how the next quarter century will look for Israel, but with one major difference: Sometime in the next 25 years the last Holocaust survivor will pass away. After they’re gone, we will be left with the great task: “Never again!” 

It’s simple but also very complicated: On one hand, the obligation to ensure that the Jewish people will never face extermination again. On the other hand, we need to be a moral lighthouse for the world and prevent humanity from collapsing to the moral degradation it experienced during the Holocaust. These have been the tasks of the State of Israel since its inception, and these will remain the tasks in the future.


Should we be here or there? In Israel or the Diaspora? As a sovereign state or assimilated into the other nations? 

These dilemmas have accompanied the Jewish people almost from the beginning. We chose to address the topic through two key figures. On one hand, there’s Joseph, the son of Jacob, who came to Egypt from the land of Canaan as a slave, fulfilled the “Egyptian dream,” and became a senior minister and one of the king’s closest confidantes. On the other hand there’s Moses, the man who made the reverse journey, from Egypt to Canaan, the man who symbolizes more than anyone else the yearning for the land of Israel. In the sketch, we do not provide a definitive answer to the dilemma. 

When the sketch was first aired, in the conclusion of Season 3 of “The Jews are Coming,” the answer came immediately after, in the poem by David Avidan, “Yipui Koach” (Power of Attorney). The theme of this poem is resilience and determination in the face of adversity, a reflection of the collective spirit of the Jewish people. During the Yom Kippur War, “Yipui Koach” became a symbol of strength and unity for Israelis. 

The poem echoes the famous statement whispered by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to U.S. President Richard Nixon during the Yom Kippur War in 1973: The secret weapon of the Jewish people is that we have nowhere else to go. This was true in the days of Moses, true during the time of Golda, and will remain true in the years to come.

Asaf Beiser and Natalie Marcus are Co-Creators and Head Writers of the highly acclaimed Israeli sketch show, The Jews are Coming | היהודים באים.

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