Wow! Just wow! And hang on a minute. Are we completely mishugineh or what? OK, the President of the USA has gone to Israel — does that mean we all have to hold our collective breath? And if we do, how long do we propose to live like that, without inhaling and exhaling, holding that collective breath! Going purple in the face? Or, alternatively, breathing so fast that we all get dizzy?
Come on, the Earth is not going to stop rotating, the Sun is going to come up and then go down whether President Obama is in or out of Israel. Of course Barack Obama is a welcome guest.Of course he is going to be treated as a welcome guest should be treated by the Israelis and Jordanians. But mass faintings in the streets? Conspicuous puddles on the footpaths? Universal adoration with tears and sobs?
Why don’t we stop behaving like a crowd of semi-hysterical high school graduates who have just been told the results of their final exams! Or worse, like a bunch of the ultra-orthodox who have learned that the Messiah has just revealed himself! Come to think about it, I am getting pretty excited myself, having talked myself into a tizz. I think I am going to stand up and sing a national anthem. Just in case.
So Jewish eternal friend Obama is coming for a bagel and a schmooze. He might have grown tired, watching Israel’s back for so long. Great! His Israeli hosts might even offer him a bit of a lechaim and fill his glass with a nice drop. And then another. And another. See, he might get a hangover in the morning and won’t feel like going to Ramallah to see this guy, what’s his name, you know, the one with the PhD from the Soviet Union, who repeatedly says that Holocaust is a Jewish exaggeration.
I understand this — nothing personal, business is business. It makes sense to make sure that Obama knows how it feels to have a headache, like Israel does, from having a partner for negotiations like this guy. The President might even understand Jewish tzores – troubles in Yiddish — a bit better. Who knows?
Frankly, I don’t envy Obama. Visiting the Middle East is like taking a stroll in an Afghan minefield: you won’t get a chance to enjoy the view because you’ll be too busy meeting your long-dead relatives.
Since I have a vivid Jewish imagination, I can just imagine Obama standing in a room full of Jews and Arabs, who think that their war is the biggest show on the planet, both sides pulling and twisting his arms in different directions, each crowd screaming something shocking in both his ears, loud and unintelligible. Wait a minute! I think I can just hear what they are all screaming.
Arabs, besides “Allahu Akbar!” holler, “Why are you so unfair to us and biased towards Israel?! Why don’t you treat us like your favourite children!? We hate you!”
On the other side, Jews are yelling, “We knew all along that you support terrorists! You don’t love us any more! Start loving us again or we will hate you!”
Can you imaging what it feels like to be standing in the middle of such a ruckus? I think Obama could use a bit of peace and quiet and, maybe, just maybe, another bagel with a cheese spread and cranberry sauce on top. Don’t you agree? After all, there’s only that much noise any man could take, even a Prsident.
Let’s not get too excited. The American President is visiting Israelis and Jordanians. A bit of quiet time and reflection would not go astray.
Dr Michael Galak and his family came to Australia as refugees from the Soviet Union in 1978