Wednesday, January 05, 2011

There's Bad Taste, Then There's Obscene

Am I alone on this? Prime Minister Netanyahu went to a memorial service for the 40-plus people killed in a horrible fire last month in Israel. Speaking to the victims' families, he said this:
“They left from here on the Carmel, soaring to the heavens on a chariot of fire
Uh, Bibi? Maybe you think you're being poetic or something, but you really can't mention "chariot of fire" when a bunch of the victims died in a burning bus. Just like you wouldn't tell the widow of a man lost at sea that "Joe's finally found a safe harbor", or console the family of someone who died of cardiac arrest that "Bob was the heart and soul of the company."

This is the textbook definition of being a dick.

Am I being oversensitive, readers? Or is Bibi suffering from rhetorical Asperger's?

Hat-tip to Failed Messiah.


Conservative apikoris said...

Actually, reading the article, it sounds like the crowd was very unruly and angry, but that most of their anger was directed at Interior Minister Yishai (who is in charge of the firefighting service.) In fact, Mr. Yishai was forced to leave the ceremony because of the verbal abuse. The "chariot of fire" line was barely mentioned, and no particular reaction was reported. It's possible that Israelis have different cultural expectations about what people are supposed to say at funerals.

That said, whatever you think of Netanyahu and Yishai, they did have the guts to do their duty required by their positions, attend this event, and take the abuse. I know of politicians who would make sure never to put themselves in a position like this. Maybe it will cause Netanyahu to realize that he's not the most popular guy in Israel, and cause him to moderate his opinion.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I flinched when I read this, but I also agree with the comment above that maybe Israelis have a different take on things like that. My rabbi is Israeli, and culture conflicts do arise between him and our American congregation.

ilana said...

this seems more like arrogant insensitivity to me rather than a cultural idiosyncracy. it's common sense that one would not want to evoke such vivid imagery of loved ones at their moment of death during the funeral service

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

I got the sense that people were so upset by all the other things going on at the time that this sound-bite just kind of slipped through. What amazed me was that no one in the media commented on it.