12 Friday, August 21, 1981
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Israel's Developing Chizbat Humor Provides
Sociological and Anthropological Background
The long appendix to this and to suggest their
The kangaroo replied, "At
"As the Chizbat tradi-
Claim has always been to overlook traditions that
is packed full of psychological and sociologi-
made that even in times of have resulted from the so-
stories. Here is cal functions.
severest crises, Jews were cial, political, and cultural it becomes necessary, in it's no wonder."
able to laugh at themselves
emerges prominently in the
tlement of Palestine and the
and their plight.
scotch-drinking kan- Mardokh doesn not know analysis of contemporary
Even in the Nazi concen- founding of a modern state. form of expression. In
garoo in a bar is undoub- tricks. Once during the war ethnic humor. For example,
"Folklore is not unique to
tration camps there de-
in concluding an analysis
tedly an extraordinary he came to a mortar position,
veloped a sense of humor. It primitive or preindustrial the Chizbat is surveyed in
of Polish- and Italian-joke
was a sustaining factor in
cycles in the United States,
reinforces our attending fire one shell. They said,
ily the product of level of meaning.
the author writes:
"Iii Chapter 5 the deeper
Yet, in recent years, the homogeneous communities.
" 'One possible rease-
question was posed: "Are
for the popularity of t
Jews now lacking in the Israeli folklore, he must
Polack (or Italian) jok,
ability to make light of all look beyond the Marchen explored. The findings of tender looked at him a bit took a shell, looked at it from cycle is that it takes the
obstacles and difficulties?"
at the kangaroo from cover guarding the firing heat off the Negro ...
This question has also from Iraq, and the songs sized in Chapter 6 in de-
With the Polack cycle, it
mechanism, "Remove cap
been applied to Israel. from Poland to traditions lineating the basic meaning time to time.'
is the lower class, not
While the Jewish state's generated, maintained, and
Negroes, which provide
newspapers emulate the associated with the new
the outlet for aggression
American press with car- sociocultural environ- fate of the Chizbat after the foregrounded, that is, the his hat from his head and and the means of feeling
toons and lighter vein ment."
Prof. ()ring's studies are superior.'
The logical way of judging or reader to mark the
For several years, Prof.
items, the query whether
and draw upon
there is an Israeli humor
to meet the many serious in Israel to gain a
adopts a similar perspec-
situations in the land is perspective on the sub- some of the stories that are nary and deserving of life. The eminent author- tive:
often posed. Visitors in
" The American Jew is
Israel especially raise compilation contained in ing's research. Here is one bartender finally de- account the Freudian defensive as to his Jewish-
story with an appended ex- clares, You know, we
his "Israeli Humor."
planation of its application don't get many kan- his "Israeli Humor" relates ness, but in a Jewish
Dr. Elliott Oring, profes-
gathering, there is no need
His emphasis on Palmach to the Israel environment:
garoos around here,' the appropriately to his text:
sor of anthropology at is that "it is a distinctly na-
to be apologetic. Here ar-
listener expects some ex-
A kangaroo walked into a
California State University tive organization," and was
mored in the security of peer
and research associate at not marginal in the evolu-
group identification, the
the Center of Comparative tion of Israel society and walked up to the bar and
American Jew is aggressive
ordering drinks in a bar.
Study of Folklore and "reflected a mainstream de- asked for a scotch and soda.
and abrasive.' "
hostile and obscene
Mythology at UCLA, has a velopment both ideologi-
The entire text of this
a bit curiously and then shattered,
positive answer in "Istaeli cally and sociologically."
is so voluminous,
fixed the drink. "That'll be a when the kangaroo re- structure overlaying more
Humor: The Content and
His own analysis of the dollar seventy-five," said the sponds with a statement basic levels of. expression. the stories so varying in the
Structure of the Chizbat of results of his studies is de-
concerning the price of Through the techniques of nature of fields covered,
the Palmach" (State Uni- fined in an explanation of bartender.
drinks. At this point, if humor, tabooed thoughts that "Israeli Humor" pro-
versity of New York Press, the contents of this interest-
listener is to `get' the -could be expressed and al- vides material for sociologi-
purse from his pouch, took
cal as well as anthropologi-
out the money and paid. The joke, he must quickly re- lies for these thoughts re- cal discussions. Dr. Oring's
The word Chizbat is the
"Chapter 1 attempts to
Arabic for lie. It was
is an impressive contribu-
utilized by the Palmach as contextualize the Palmach business, glancing at the joke. He must mark that a
tion to the study of humor-
the narrative joke ex- within the development of kangaroo from time to time, dollar seventy-five is a foundly influenced by
ous aspects as they relate to
changed by the volunteer the Yishuv, particularly
the many elements in Is-
_defense forces that operated within the evolution of After about five minutes the
rael's population, to the
have repeatedly attempted
in defense of the Jewish set- Yishuv defense. Chapter 2 bartender went over to the the particular formula- to demonstrate the sexual/
military and the civic and to
tlements priof to the attempts to contextualize kangaroo and said, "You
Jewish life in general.
emergence of Israel, from the Chizbat within the know, we don't get-many statement bears two in- ious humorous repertoires
world of the Palmach.
1941 to 1948.
A distinct Israeli identity:
emerges from the definitive
Chizbat humor as outlined
That is what the UN Gen- capable bulwark against
that many have been be-
By FRANKLIN LITTELL
by Prof. Oring.
AsseMbly will do in re- total Russian takeover in
aten and some killed by
Devoting his research
sponse to the appeal of the the area.
on the Holocaust
into the thousands of
Lebanon is shattered,
Bahai and the information
the Muslim "revolu-
available sources, the
on their martyred believers: an adjunct to Greater
vast accumulation of
Syria. Iraq is in the Rus-
they will pass a declaration.
An appeal has been
Yemenite, Tunisian and reports of new massacres in
sian orbit too. Iran, once
entered with Kurt Wal-
Lithuanian tales, Prof. Khomeini's Iran, with
real situation in the Near the mob has run its
East gets steadily worse. course, will have only the
"to investigate a systematic
"This collecting, annotat- groups not submissive to
plan to exterminate the Syria and the USSR have Communist Party with
ing, and publishing ac- the mob rule of the mullahs
Bahai in Iran." My advice: just completed joint an infra-structure capa-
tivity, which is mainly car-
Don't hold your breath. The naval and landing ma- ble of running the coun-
Just one sector's experi-
ried on by the Israel
UN, which will blow its neuvers in the eastern try, its oil and industry.
Folktale Archives, proceeds ence will summarize the
Holding Egypt in the
noses in unison if a petty Mediterranean. There
from the application of his-
sheikh or communist ap-
torical, geographical, and to those who refuse to run
volved. Before World largely upon President
weep in chorus if a terrorist War II the Russians Sadat: like Jordan and
tives to the traditions of a Bahai faith. The Bahai faith
didn't have a single war- Saudi Arabia, Egypt has no
nest is destroyed or terrorist
society whose primary proc- was launched in the middle
ship in the Mediterra- significant military poten-
ess and principle of forma-
tial in a conflict involving
tion has been kibbuz out of Shiite Islam in Persia.
major forces. The same is
Through Arab League oil true of Greece and Turkey,'
goluyyot, `ingathering of Deeply devoted to peace be- have, of course, suffered ing to offend the perse-
exiles.' But hand in hand
where the value of the al-
of their leaders have been they do anything.
heads of government have liance lies in keeping f 1
with this ingathering of teaching interracial amity
killed since Khomeini took
exiles has been the building and international justice,
Or perhaps that should be been induced to race each
over, 40 are still in prison corrected, in view of a other to kiss first the san- territory open to us
of a new society and a new the Bahai have as high as
awaiting charge, and do- printed report which just dals of the desert princes, closed to Russian expan-
ethical teaching and fine a
"In their efforts to docu- spiritual practice as any of zens have been fired from arrived in the mail from the and to prefer PLO terrorism
Israel — and only Israel!
ment the range and depth of the major religions.
"World Conference of Reli-
is a factor of significance
Although information gion and Peace." The con- balance of power.
Under the clerical fas-
imported folklore tradi-
in restraining Russian ex-
tions, scholars have tended
ference's newsletter of
pansion in that section of
government has let itself be
June, 1981, is headlined:
"UN Drafts Religious Dec- seduced — in deference to
We Americans should be
laration." Later on there is
entitled to an administra-
published a "Draft .Declara- manufacturers — into lean- tion in Washington that
tion on the Elimination of ing on Israel to check its de- leaves no doubt in the minds
All Forms of Intolerance fensive actions against ter- of either friend or foe as to
and of Discrimination rorist centers.
In sheer military terms what kind of government
Based on Religion or Be-
is worth at least two we are allied with, and what
lief." It is a beautiful state-
NATO soldiers, as kind we tolerate only to the
ment, said to be the result of
dependable and extent necessary.
20 years of committee work.
Minorities Are Targets in World, Middle East 'Morality'