Jewish Journal


November 6, 2013

Rachel Berry, McDonalds, Paris and Tel-Aviv



Tel- Aviv- more of the same and still one of a kind. Photo taken by Eyal Edlin.

Glee- what a fun show.  A bunch of high-school kids dance and sing, and though sometimes being "Slushied," they still enjoy life and sing about it. I watch Glee. In fact, I am a big fan of Glee. And Smash. And Revenge. And The Americans. And Modern Family. And Dexter. And this is just the top of the list.

Yes, I am an Israeli, and I love American television. In fact, I am not the only one. Everyone I know loves American television, and American series take most of their screen time.  I don't know if what I said surprised you, so to make sure you read something new here, I'll add that the main topic of my conversations with my friends is not politics or the news, but the recent developments on Pretty Little Liars, and the relationship between Carrie and Sargent Brody. It's not that we don't have good original content here, it's just that we prefer yours. And it's not just television. We also enjoy our McRoyal,  l-o-v-e Tarantino films, shop at American Eagle and enjoy our fair share of Taylor Swift or Kanye West.

What can I say- thank God for Globalization, which brought us one step closer to the American pop-culture.  In the last few decades, thanks to technology mostly, the many civilizations of the world are gradually turning into one, as the citizens of the world share more and more interests. Those shared interests are somewhat “western” interests, such as capitalism and individualism. There is also shared mainstream music, movies, dress codes and more. Most of those western interests are driven by the country which became the center of the world, and is unofficially the world’s largest empire, the United States of America.
However, not all countries of the west side of the Globe are rushing into this American wealth. France, for instance, takes the American invasion very seriously. Did you know that back in 1972, McDonalds had to close their first restaurant in there, due to the French unwillingness to accept it? It took them seven years to reopen there, and this time for good, although with major changes of the menu, some say more than in any other country, in a way that fits the French culture. When Disney showed their intention in placing an amusement part in Paris, a dream come true for most countries in the world, French newspapers filled with harsh criticism, claiming that this American invasion will destroy the French culture for good, and leave nothing behind.

Now, this is nationalism at its proudest form. A nation which refuses to be carried away by the Globalization breeze.  A nation which stands still, afraid to give in and become like anyone else. This is the exact opposite of the United States- the land of possibilities and the mother of multiculturalism. A stranger who visits France will immediately feel like a stranger, like a guest in an unfamiliar place. A stranger who visits the US, however, will feel right at home, no matter where he's from.
And us? Where is Israel in that US- France scale? Like in many others comparisons, Israel is unique. In some mysterious way, we manage to blend in quite smoothly in the Globalization circle, and at the same time, we carry a very strong "Israeli" identity with us. We love McDonalds, but can't refuse to a proper Israeli breakfast. We love Homeland, but never skip an episode of P.O.W (the original, Israeli version of "Homeland"). We use iTunes to download FUN's latest single, but also download our favorite Mashina song. We can blend in perfectly anywhere, but always let everyone know we are Israelis.

Once you take a close look at our culture, you realize how amazing this is, this almost perfect combination of blending in and keeping originality. We always talk about how we're dying to board a place and get out of here, but hang a flag on our balconies during our Independence Day. We always complain about the people, but gather in a joint effort to bring a soldier back home from captivity. We always say how we cannot wait for our next trip to the US, so that we can "enjoy a civilized society," but always happy to be back home. ישראלי זה הכי, אחי.

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