The Jerusalem Khan Theater has a new satirical play by Ilan Hatzor, "War for the Home." A certain amount of courage is needed to put on a leftist satire these days, and indeed Hatzor was very cautious: The army and the Jewish settlers in the territories are presented as no less mad than the women who demonstrate for peace. Twice during the play a kind of "apology" and reservation is expressed, in a double twist that is a kind of reminder that it is all, you know, only as if and all in fun, like.
The basic situation is not funny: It takes place in Jerusalem, in 10 years' time. The situation is awful. People cannot walk upright in their homes, because immediately the Palestinians shoot at them from outside, there is nothing to eat apart from hubeiza (a wild, edible plant that famously provided sustenance during the siege of Jerusalem in 1948). The war goes on endlessly, there are dozens killed every day and the Israel Defense Forces are fighting in the alleys of Tehran.
To fill the ranks of the army, the government decides to import foreign fighters, from the Middle East and from Africa.
The Swedish Embassy in Tel Aviv will naturally report on the figure of the mediator who comes straight from Stockholm. The prime minister takes the pages of his recommendation straight to the toilet, as toilet paper. The mediator takes the opportunity of being here to adopt a Palestinian child, but an Israeli couple persuades him to take their son, because a family in Sweden is the best thing that can be given to children. Afterward a representative of the Palestinian Authority comes and the Israeli family makes a private peace with him, in the spirit of the private terror of the lone suicide bomber. There is a compromise. Happy end.
There is criticism of the army that encourages the politicians to wage war. The commander of the navy proposes launching a missile that can kill an old woman in Halhoul and the prime minister asks in alarm: "Whaddaya mean an old lady in Halhoul? Don't you realize what damage this will do us abroad?" The commander of the navy promises him that it is a matter of the head of the Popular Front.
There is a scene at the Knesset buffet that sends out quite a populist message: All politicians are corrupt. The final result is closer to the defunct puppet satire television program "Hartzufim" than to "Queen of the Bathtub," the satirical play by Hanoch Levin that caused a huge controversy in 1970: more of a shaking than a painful punch to the belly.
The audience that came to a performance on Tuesday reacted enthusiastically. With a little bit of luck, there will nevertheless be a scandal.
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