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The Golden Girls, American, and Israel

Taking a metaphor to its logical extreme

Liel Leibovitz
March 19, 2013

Because I am a very ardent fan of The Golden Girls, I was thrilled to learn this morning that the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. has produced a short and humorous video celebrating Obama’s upcoming visit to the Holy Land, using the theme of the iconic 1980s television show as its soundtrack. More critical souls might dismiss the whole enterprise as “insane,” but I’m inclined to give Israel’s hasbara ninjas the benefit of the doubt. They know just what they’re doing: The Golden Girls is an apt metaphor for Israeli-American relations.

Think about it: a wealthy and assertive Blanche (Barack Obama), seeking meaningful partnerships, welcomes into her home the strong-willed, tough-talking Dorothy (Bibi Netanyahu). Dorothy never really seems to understand the fundamental power structure at play—she is, after all, Blanche’s tenant—but luckily for her, she has her elderly and wise and feisty mother, Sophia (Shimon Peres) to set her straight. Completing the foursome is the ever-amusing, very sweet, and occasionally incoherent Rose (Joseph R. Biden), who is really only there for comic relief.

Like every great sitcom, however, this one, too, has a rich cast of supporting actors, like the wacky next-door neighbor, Dr. Harry Weston (Salam Fayyad) a lovable and kind man who is surrounded by cantankerous and kooky relatives and just can’t seem to catch a break.

NBC, currently hurting in the ratings, would do well to begin pre-production on The Golden Girls of Jerusalem right now; it’s a cheap show to produce (with a little boost in aid) and the laughs are guaranteed to keep on coming.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.