Israel and the Palestinians, Iran and Saudi Arabia, ISIS and Hamas. The world has desponded of the Middle East since the 1970s, and aside from a few flickers of hope, it usually writes us off as the punch line to a bad joke.
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No one even tries to understand the region anymore, at least not seriously, but at least some Twitter surfers in Israel and abroad have posed a new challenge: Try to explain the situation succinctly in under six words.
The hashtag #ExplainTheMiddleEastIn6Words and idea are the brainchild of Gidon Shaviv, a PhD student in international law, who wrote on Sunday, "I think I just came up with the ultimate hashtag political junkie challenge."
Many have answered the challenge in Hebrew and in English. "Lovely weather, shame about the war," tweeted The Clarion Project, an NGO that works against Islamist extremism and promotes dialogue. "Everybody's holy land, except those people," commented Ron Fournier.
"Good food, bad blood, endless schisms," summed up Omer Benjakob.
A couple took the cynical root, such as Neri Zilber, who posted, "Seriously, it can always get worse," and Bar-Ilan University professor Gerald Steinberg, who wrote, "Don't even try to understand it."
The partisan crowd also chimed in with pro-Israel comments like "The Jews are always to blame" and "When in doubt, just blame Zionists" and anti-Israel tweets like "When in doubt, kick Palestinians off" and "Zionism: An enemy to YOUR peace."
But the day was won by one Rabbi Josh Yuter, whose pithy was outshone only by what he left unsaid: