Karov: Contemporary Israeli Society Through Satire
The Hebrew word karov (קָרוֹב) encapsulates multiple dimensions of closeness, underscoring nearness in space, time, and relationships. It points to a sense of being close to something both physically and metaphorically, highlighting the ability to connect and transcend distance. As we get ready to celebrate Israel’s 74th birthday from near and far, we want to offer another opportunity for developing closeness with contemporary Israeli society.
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 news of this year. Revisiting Jewish traditions and themes embedded in Israeli society, the writers offer viewers a multifaceted journey of closeness with tradition, cultural memory, and contemporary events.
Yom Ha’atzmaut is a great moment to reflect back on where we started as we also consider where Israel is today. On November 29, 1947, the UN voted to partition Mandatory Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, making it clear that for the first time in two thousand years there will be a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The inhabitants of pre-state Israel spontaneously ran into the streets and danced to celebrate the big news.
Here is how Hayehudim Ba’im portrays this joyous moment as all of the diverse ideas, identities, and people came together. There are no subtitles for this clip, however it is self-explanatory if you understand the meaning of two words: Yesh Medinah (יֵשׁ מְדִינָה), “There is a state.”
In this clip, we see how the unity of Israeli society, in this moment of unified joy, is a bit of a myth. Israeli society is composed of many different groups, different circles doing their own dances. Sometimes they dance in harmony, and other times they bump into each other. This is a beautiful metaphor for Israel in all its complexity and diversity. As you watch this clip from the show, ask yourself:
- For whom is this funny? And for whom is this not funny?
- Who is bumping into whom?
- What content and context might we need in order to laugh?
- What are we learning about Israeli society from this clip?
You can find more comedy sketches from Hayehudim Ba’im on YouTube, including many with subtitles in English.