Humorous Quotes from George Mike's
The Prophet Motive
As a result of my first journey I had published a little book on Israel, called Milk and Honey. Now, two decades later, this book was like the Bible – quite good reading still, but definitely out of date.
‘I’ve heard a joke which worries me,’ he said.
‘It couldn’t have been a very good joke,’ I replied.
Tel-Aviv airport is still the only airport in the world where each passenger is met by ten relatives.
I said in my earlier book, and find no reason for retracting my statement, that the famous Jewish sense of humour got lost in transit to Israel.
Israel also deprived the world of its chance of shedding tears of genuine sympathy over her destruction. The world resents this; it likes to feel noble and sympathetic.
The Israeli pound is no longer equivalent to the pound sterling. Although our own pound, after two devaluations and a lot of wear and tear, is considerably less sterling than it used to be.
Israelis still keep teaching you your own business. God knows everything but the Israelis know everything better.
Devotion to culture can be carried too far, I thought, when I noticed that my taxi driver kept reading his newspaper while driving. Fortunately, it was rather uneventful, indeed dull, day; the news was not absorbing so we reached our destination.
If it is gay, ribald and lascivious night-life you are after, Israel is not the place for you. The night clubs you do find are nearer in spirit to a YMCA than to dens of iniquity.
Favorite Long Quotes / Extracts...
Before June 1967 everyone sympathized with us and felt strongly for us. They watched the approaching genocide with deep sympathy in their hearts and tears in their eyes. They were ready to send warm clothing to the 3,000 surviving Jewish children. But we did not call on their generosity for two reasons. Firstly, Israel is a warm country and no one needs warm clothing. Secondly, we beat the Arabs.
Another grave problem is Israel is alcoholism. The trouble is that people do not drink enough alcohol.
'I don’t say a Zionist must be insane,’ said President Weizmann, ‘but it helps if he is.’
Bad English was the second language of Israel and bad Hebrew, of course, remained the national language.
Israel is different. It is possible to travel from New York to Singapore or from Sydney to Johannesburg and – unless you keep your eyes very much open – not notice that you have moved at all, but this will not be true if you take in Israel.
(In the good Arab restaurants) The waiters have a disconcerting habit of listening to your orders with great patience and courtesy, and then bringing you three times as much as you have ordered. When, somewhat timidly, you point this out, they take half of the surplus away with a hurt look in their eyes.
In some Arab places you order beef and they bring you lamb; you order veal and they bring you lamb; you order pork and they bring you lamb. An obvious stratagem may have occurred to you – but it is no use: you order lamb with an arriere pensee and they will bring you lamb.
The country (Israel) has always been governed by a coalition but today it is governed by a so-called Grand Coalition which is a more polite word for all and sundry.
He (Abdel Nasser) knows that deeds count for less in the Arab world than words; he can afford to lose wars but he certainly cannot afford to be less flamboyant. Strategy is less important than rhetoric.
This need to persecute a minority is alive also in the heart of the Jews themselves, simply because they are neither better not worse than other people. They are people themselves (a theory the world has refused to accept for many centuries).
Favorite Long Quotes / Extracts...
‘Our sense of humour is really British,’ a young man told me. ‘Our true style of expression is the understatement.’
I could hardly believe my ears.
‘Understatement?’ I repeated incredulously.
‘But how can you say that?’ I asked him. ‘Five minutes ago, when describing Israel, you used the adjectives wonderful, inimitable, admirable, superlative and matchless.’
He looked at me with surprise.
‘Still an understatement,’ he said coldly.
(In Israel) All matrimonial jurisdiction is in the hands of the Rabbinical Courts who act in a spirit which was outdated at the time of Jesus.
The zealots claim they act in God’s name and God, alas, can never protest against iniquities and injustices committed in his name.
When these fedayun are caught, they talk. They talk voluntarily, freely and volubly, and give away all their secrets; names and everything. They are not tortured; they torture their captors with their verbosity.
Sometimes little Arab children play with little Jewish children and the sun does not stand still and the heavens do not fall down.
Long before the word Zionism was uttered for the first time, old religious Jews came from all over the world to die in Jerusalem. It is the finest place to die in – it has always been acknowledged. It has a joie de mourir quite its own.
Most politicians and public men have learnt the art of saying nothing in many words; the Mayor of Hebron has learnt the greater art of saying nothing in very few words.
The Bedouins – much more nomadic in 1948 than today – were always more pro-Israeli than the rest. In the old days they robbed many Israelis but there was nothing personal, let alone anti-Jewish, in that. They robbed people worth robbing.
When they (Sabras or native Israelis) heard that the Vatican had forgiven the Jews, or rather had exonerated them from responsibility for the crucifixion, they asked: ‘And who will forgive the Popes and the Vatican for 2,000 years of persecution?
As there is no basic disagreement (between students and government policy), protest marches and revolutionary acts would be pointless. Consequently Israel's young people spend their time studying.
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