Two years ago, when Israel was mired in a seemingly endless series of inconclusive elections – and that seemed like the big problem – Shauli (Assi Cohen), the downscale slob character on the satirical comedy show Eretz Nehederet, offered his sincere take on a perfect solution: civil war.
This clip has recently resurfaced and gone viral, with nearly two million views on YouTube, as citizens from all walks of life crowd the streets day after day with demonstrations against the government’s proposed judicial reforms.
These protests have intensified this week and have turned violent at times, causing people to seek out this bitterly prescient clip. Rafi Reshef, the host of one of the Keshet network’s most popular programs, showed it in prime time, and many others have posted it, as an eerie premonition of the situation the country currently finds itself in.
The clip shows Shauli and his wife, Irena (Liat Harlev), being interviewed by moderator Eyal Kitzis on who they will be voting for this time around. Irena says she voted Likud the first time, but then gives a list of parties she has voted for that includes almost every option there is, including the Mizrahi ultra-Orthodox party Shas, and the Joint List, an Arab party.
Shauli has a better idea. The state isn’t working because there are too many types of people, religious, secular, Moroccan, Romanian, and so on. In Sweden, they just have Swedes, but here, “We all hate each other and the country needs a civil war... Every self-respecting country in the world has had a civil war. Look at America, what did they have before the Civil War? The Wild West, and now they made it to the moon... Even Syria, just next door, soon they will be reaping the rewards of their civil war.”
'Let's have a civil war'
How can Israel, the land of the Bible, be left behind, where everyone knows how to fight and has the necessary equipment, he asks. “Let’s have a civil war, Ashkenazim fighting Mizrahim, leftists fighting rightists, ultra-Orthodox fighting secular people,” he says.
Everyone with an Israeli identity card can fight, he says, except the Arabs, who can sit this one out, since fighting with them doesn’t lead anywhere, or if they really want, they can start battling against whichever side is winning.
We don’t need to go out to the battlefield, either, it’s right under our noses, he points out, and the war can be fought in sweatpants and slippers.
“Nothing strengthens a country more than a civil war. Every day we’re not fighting each other, it’s a waste.”
Disconcerted by her husband’s tirade, Irena looks up and offers Kitzis the instant coffee he refused at the beginning. But because the Hebrew word for instant coffee is a homonym of “miracle,” she says, “Are you sure you don’t want a miracle?”