The Gods Must Be Babbling

The gods are angry at us. There is no doubt about it. But how have we sinned that they abuse us so? Or in other words: What is it we wanted? To fly. A right you have given, O gracious gods, to every garbage fly - but we, how parsimoniously you treat us! First you give, then you take away. An El Al plane sets out for New York. Suddenly a malfunction is discovered. Hours of anxiety in the air. And back to the ground. Another El Al plane takes off, for Moscow. Suddenly there's a flat tire.

All this even before the memory fades of the horrible week when all outbound air traffic was grounded over contaminated fuel, and before the volcanic ash began to threaten all flights to northwestern Europe. Clearly there is a hidden hand at work here. Clearly there are guilty parties. They just need to be found and sacrificed to the angry god so that order in the air will be restored. But to which god, exactly? There are so many of them in the skies.

Eran Wolkowski

My first bet would be the local god Laxus, who is responsible for the unique negligence that makes up part of the famous Israeli charm, a carelessness that begins with how Israelis dress and mix up gender-sensitive words. Laxus has a potbelly protruding from between his shabby T-shirt and his three-quarter-length pants, the national summer costume. What's it to him if the planes are 100 percent functional or only 92 percent? The god Laxus hasn't received any sacrifices for a while now, and he is known to be fond of human offerings. The time has come to placate him.

Another god who appears to be a bit neglected of late is Pan, responsible for panic. For good reason this god chose to make his home here, knowing there is no one like us when it comes to creating panic out of anything. For example: U.S. President Barack Obama's speech calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel based on the 1967 borders. The idea was chewed over and over again by an entire generation before 1967 and has continued to be chewed over for two generations since 1967, and yet every time it's mentioned, the god Pan lets loose with his whirlwind of panic balloons that inflate until they burst. How is he being requited for the panic he spreads over us? Clearly, he is wroth.

And when the god Pan is angry, he says to himself: Aha! They are taking for granted the panic brought on by a mention of the 1967 borders! Let us give them some panic on an issue that will hurt them more than the territories: We'll threaten that they won't be able to leave the country. Then we'll see how gladly they agree to return not just to the 1967 borders, but to the 1867 borders!

And now from the east looms the goddess Babbla, the goddess of infinite babble who provides endless television talking heads who chatter about chat, forecast forecasts, analyze analyses and assess assessments. Such as: Did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech in Congress make an impression? If so, on whom? And amidst all the babble, the goddess Babbla says to herself: Let's challenge them. To babble about Netanyahu and his speech - there's nothing easier than that. Let's see them deal with Icelandic volcano ash.

What this clever goddess is not taking into account is that the babble produced by a single Israeli TV panel could produce a shock wave of air capable of repulsing not only one volcanic cloud but all volcanic clouds within a several-kilometer radius. In her wrath, the goddess stamps her foot and says: Okay! Let's send down on them the evil spirit Antisemitismos.

No sooner is his name uttered than the tip of his tail appears. And before you can say Jack Robinson, we've caught him by the tail, the root of all our evils. After all, if there were no Antisemitismos, we would not have been exiled from our land 2,000 years ago and therefore we would not have developed in the Diaspora, for reasons of survival, such a strong tendency toward Laxianity. And were we not such Laxians, El Al planes would not be having such frequent malfunctions and the people responsible for the fuel would have discovered the contamination in time. And if there were no air travel malfunctions and fuel supply disruptions, we would not be panicking every time they deprive us of our most fundamental right as citizens - to leave our damned country, which can go to hell.

And if the people of Israel were not so keen on leaving their country, there would be no need to stuff us with all the patriotic babble about the land of our forefathers. And if this land were not covered in such a dense volcanic cloud of patriotic babble, perhaps we might simply wake up in the morning, open the shutters and say: O dear gods, go ahead, give us the cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash and in return send to Iceland the cloud of oratorical babble about peace and security and the commentaries on the babble and the commentaries on the commentaries.