Barack Obama’s long-anticipated, highly-speculated, seriously-downplayed trip to Israel – his first as president – starts today. After making it clear that he would not be packing a peace plan (apparently extra baggage costs on Air Force One have gone up and, boy, does that peace plan carry a lot of baggage) - expectations for his visit are almost as low as his popularity here.
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Given that he apparently has no intention of upsetting the status quo, why not re-conceptualize the trip as that most venerable of American traditions: Spring Break?
Taking politics off the table for a moment, perhaps this is just what Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu need to really get to know each other and patch up their differences. Forget press conferences and official meetings.
For the most part, Obama’s itinerary, leaked last week, can stay the same, with a few tweaks. For example, after arriving at Ben-Gurion International Airport, Obama - as previously determined - will inspect one of Israel’s celebrated Iron Dome anti-missile systems, the star of Operation Pillar of Defense in November (even if its stellar record is now being questioned).
But because this is Spring Break, and Spring Break is nothing if not populated by babes in bikinis, instead of shooting out a missile, it will shoot out Bar Refaeli, who proved to be one of the stars of this year’s Super Bowl with her racy GoDaddy commercial. It’s Israeli defense at its most effective and the perfect, um, launch for Refaeli’s rumored new role as a Foreign Ministry spokesperson (even if some groups are protesting the choice and digging up her evasion of military service).
The official beverage of Spring Break is, of course, ice-cold beer. Luckily, the American president appears to be something of an amateur brew-master, having just released his first batch of well-received honey ale last October. Why not bring along a few cases and stage Beer Summit, Part II following the first, successful one held in 2009 between Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley. And the timing – occurring just days before Passover when beer is a national no-no – is perfect.
Because Spring Break usually requires some manly physical activity, how about a little skeet shooting competition up on the Syrian border? Obama, if recently released photos are to be believed, is a fan of the sport and well, it’s about time that America sent some troops into Syria. Even if it’s just the Commander-in-Chief with a shotgun, it’s a start.
The state dinner at the prime minister’s residence is a bit too fancy an affair for Spring Break – black tie really is the antithesis of what Spring Break is all about. Best head to Tel Aviv for a beach BBQ, bonfire and dance party. After all, how often do you think Obama gets to go to the beach? And we have some pretty spectacular ones. Would be a shame not to show off Israel’s fun and flirty side.
And Sara Netanyahu, sweetie, you work that black, see-through lace! Spring Break is all about loving your body and showing off as much skin as possible.
According to the official itinerary, the next day calls for a visit to the Israel Museum to see the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display. What is this, Birthright?
In light of the theme, a spa day at the Dead Sea is much more appropriate. Let’s show Obama we appreciate the millions of dollars America gives to Israel’s defense forces and treat him to a massage. And because the U.S. Congress’ upcoming budget cuts may put a dent in those donations, let’s throw in a facial for good measure. That’s how you pamper an ally.
Of course, while floating on the Dead Sea is all fun and good, in light of the recent controversy of New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who thought it cool to don blackface during Purim, no one is allowed to smear on the mud. Imagine if those photos leaked…
Finally, if Spring Break is about anything, it’s about music. Specifically, music videos. And who better to rock this part of Spring Break than Israeli president Shimon Peres, who starred in his own music video last year by Israeli DJ Noy Alooshe. Peres’ video featured a remixed version of the wisely chosen quote “Be my friend in peace” and perhaps Peres can help Obama select a quote for his own music video remix.
To be truly edgy, and have the best chance of going viral on YouTube, Obama would be smart to select a short, sweet and provocative phrase. Among those available for consideration that he has at some point said are the following: “Israel doesn’t know what it’s best interests are,” “Let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable,” and “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.”
Of course, this is all in good fun because Spring Break is all about fun. And if Obama has no intention of ruining Israel’s party, he’ll get no complaints from us. But then he – and we – better be prepared to deal with a major hangover the next day, and perhaps for a long time to come. Because the thing about Spring Break is, the fun always comes to an end.