Ben Gurion Airport: President Biden’s historic Middle East visit is in crisis this evening upon the news that nobody at the airport has a clue where his luggage is currently located. Even before Corona, Ben Gurion was never really known for “Customer Service” per se. It’s not really our thing here in Israel, and we like to think that it’s actually part of our charm! But with Corona rules quickly fading away, Ben Gurion Airport slowly realized that the employees it placed on unpaid leave aren’t coming back. So, nothing’s getting done and you’re never getting your bags. Like Ever. Even if you’re the President of the United States. The Daily Freier wandered around Terminal One as dozens of White House Aides frantically searched for the President’s baggage.
As news of Joe’s missing bags slowly sunk in, a phalanx of extremely excited young men and women wearing khakis and dockers quickly fanned out in a frantic scavenger hunt. First, they ran into Moti from Ground Handling. “How should I know?” asked Moti as he chewed on sunflower seeds in the break room. “Bags are Bags. Maybe you should come back tomorrow when Gila returns from the Kinneret. She’s pretty smart about these things.“
Undaunted by their lack of success with Moti, the White House team moved on to Baggage Claim, only to run into a family of distraught Canadian tourists walking through a veritable graveyard of unclaimed bags. The White House aides asked our Canadian friends if they had seen a set of pristine blue gym bags with the words “POTUS” and “Joe from Scranton” written in white cursive letters on the side. The Canadians, being Canadians, apologized profusely that they had not in fact seen the Presidents bags before returning to their desperate attempt to find their property before Airport employees looted the bags then destroyed them in a crusher. (Ha Ha! Just kidding! That would NEVER happen! Wait…. It just happened. Oops. Our bad.)
With night quickly approaching, the Presidential team spotted several cleaning personnel smoking cigarettes outside of Terminal One. Had they seen the bags? “Are you from America?” asked Nadav. “Next month I want to go to Miami and Las Vegas and New York. I’m going to rent a car. So where are the good outlet malls?” The President’s advance team informed Nadav that they were quite busy right now and did not have time to discuss the finer points of American Road Trips, but Nadav was undeterred. “Where does The Rock live?“
Tel Aviv: The District Court of Tel Aviv has dismissed the lawsuit brought against El Al Airlines by Hatari, Iceland’s Eurovision Entry. You see, Hatari, a band of woke rich kids committed in their own special way to social justice, decided to wave the Palestinian flag because they couldn’t find Narnia’s flag during a live Eurovision broadcast. And Israelis, being Israelis, decided to throw some serious shade, culminating in El Al allegedly giving the band purposely poor seats and service on their flight home. Hatari then responded by filing a lawsuit, which was subsequently tossed out today. You see, El Al has this tiny, and let us just stress VERY UNDESERVED reputation for…. you may want to sit down for this….. poor customer service. We know… crazy, right? (Editor’s Note: Just to be fair, we called El Al’s Toll Free Number about this rumor, but the woman yelled at us and then hung up.) So the Court resolved that there was in fact no data set of “good El Al Customer Service” with which to compare Hatari’s accusation of crappy service. The Daily Freier walked down to the courthouse to get all the facts.
We spoke to Tamar C., a bailiff at the courthouse, who read from the Court’s decision. “It is the Court’s opinion that the Band Hatari, henceforth to be referred to as ‘the plaintiff’, did not adequately prove they were purposely and maliciously served poor food, because none of us in the Courthouse can remember receiving ‘a good meal’ from El Al…. not even Sarit from the cleaning staff, and her brother works in El Al’s catering office.”
When the Daily Freier noted that the plaintiff had accused El Al of purposely placing them near extra-rude passengers, Tamar continued: “It is the Court’s opinion that the ‘very rude’ Israeli passengers the plaintiff was seated next to would not even make the tryouts for Israel’s ‘Bad Travelers’ All-Star Team.”
Ben Gurion Airport, Terminal 3: Jewish-American pundit Peter Beinart was briefly detained yesterday after setting off the Airport’s Sanctimony Detector. Mr. Beinart, the beating heart of the (very) Liberal (kinda) Zionist Movement, was held and questioned by Airport Security personnel after his answers to their questions triggered the Detector. The machine, known as the Sanctimonitor, began beeping loudly as Peter talked about his Solidarity trips to Hebron, his one-way feud with Bibi, and the Amazing Vegan Co-Op at the Reconstructionist Synagogue near his favorite bike path. The Daily Freier spoke with Yael Z., the alert Security Officer who initially flagged Mr. Beinart.
” The interview began normally.” explained Yael. “But then he mentioned his White Privilege, and the machine started to beep. Then he began adding the phrase “As a Jew” to Each. And. Every. Sentence….. and the machine started to go crazy. Then he mentioned ‘Tikkun Olam’. And ‘Tikkun Olam’. And ‘Tikkun Olam’. Did I mention that he said ‘Tikkun Olam’? …Finally, he compared the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict to the #MeToo Movement, (Editor’s Note: Of COURSE he really once did this. And of COURSE he did it in the Forward) and the machine sort of exploded a little bit.”
Yael continued: “After we brought him to another room for further questioning, he started reading out loud from a notebook about how betrayed he felt, how things are never going to be the same, and that this might really be the last time. At first we thought it was a Taylor Swift breakup song, but it was actually just his latest article for the Forward.”
Yet for those savvy travelers who are “In the Know”, today’s news was about as controversial and groundbreaking as “Jerusalem Shuk will be very crowded on Friday morning” or “Soldier on your Birthright trip is going to get lucky“. In fact, our friend in dire need of a cigarette failed to even break the Top Ten list of “Worst Behaved Israeli Travelers in 2017.” The Daily Freier caught up with some of last year’s winners in Ben Gurion’s Departure Lounge to find out just what it takes to join the Dream Team of Israel’s worst travelers.
The Daily Freier first spoke to 7th Place Winner Yoav and listened to him tell the story of the time he personally used up all the drugs in his Goa hostel and walked around telling people that he wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. Later, he described how he hit a Holy Man crossing the street in Kathmandu with his motorbike “because the guy was walking too slow“.
Yoav then introduced us to his cousin and second place winner Alon, who had just returned to Israel after getting deported from Australia for feeding bamba and coffee hafuch to a koala. “This guy on the Russian flight is off to an impressive start but if he wants to be a part of this elite team, he really needs to step up his game. I mean, talk to me when you’ve been detained by park rangers for giving bong hits to a llama in Machu Picchu.”
The Daily Freier was then allowed to observe the boarding of a New York-bound El Al flight to see some of last year’s winners in action. And the results were A-MA-ZING. We were able to observe 8th Place winner Nachum, a Haredi man who found a chance to bridge the religious-secular divide by refusing to sit next to a woman on the flight and thereby delayed takeoff by several hours. Meanwhile, another man had taken his bag out of the overhead bin and rushed to the front in order to be first off the plane…. BEFORE THE PLANE HAD EVEN TAKEN OFF.
We then had the opportunity to witness 4th Place Winner Smadar K. as she yelled at a flight attendant while attempting to board with her carry-on consisting of 2 suitcases, 6 huge bags from duty-free, a backpack, and a tuba. Once she placed all of her items in the overhead compartment and got settled, Smadar described the time in Cyprus when she stuffed an entire table from the hotel’s breakfast buffet into her pocketbook.
Next, we met Eytan. While some people refuse to close their iPhones during takeoff, Eytan took it to another level and decided to publish documents from his printer as the plane ascended.
Finally, the Daily Freier was able to get testimony from the field as Israel’s worst travelers crisscrossed the Globe. Yoni was 2016’s Sixth Place winner, and he Skyped in from Amsterdam while attempting to fit the hotel room’s flat screen television into his suitcase. “Hair dryers and bathrobes? That’s for beginners. Welcome to the Big Leagues.”
Then there was 3rd Place Winner Dalit. “This life is not for everyone. Our standards are high.” Dalit explained as she continued setting up the sound system for a midnight ecstasy rave in Cambodia’s Angkor Wat historical site.
Entries for the 2017 Worst Israeli Traveler competition will be accepted through the end of December. Winners will be announced in late January, with the awards ceremony to be held early February in Eilat. The Master of Ceremonies will be the “Ani Rotza Shokolad” woman.
Ben Gurion Airport: A passport counterfeiting ring based out of the city of Lod was taken down when a supposed recent immigrant (“Oleh Chadash”) exhibited suspicious behavior as he entered Israel’s Ben-Gurion airport after a trip to the United States. Israeli Customs Officer Yael Z. alerted security officials when she noticed something suspicious about a passenger who arrived at her window. “His passport said he was an American Oleh” she said. “So I made my customary joke about having nothing to declare except deodorant and Ziplocs. He didn’t laugh. In fact, he looked confused…it’s like he didn’t know what Ziplocs were. Also, he never complained that Nefesh B’Nefesh wasn’t helping him enough.”
A search of the man’s bags revealed no deodorant, no Ziplocs and documents which identified him as Rami K., a 26-year-old Israeli man born and raised in Lod. Rami explained that the passport he had used was a counterfeit, bought from his brother’s friend Shuki. “My passport expired and I needed to travel to New York for my cousin’s wedding. Well…my cousin’s wedding and to get the new iPhone 7.” Rami explained. “Misrad Hapnim wanted 280 shekels for a passport but I knew that Shuki sells them for 160. Or 150 on Fridays just before Shabbat.”
Shuki was arrested and his counterfeit passport operation was shut down. Rami served 14 days in jail for passport fraud and is still confused about the whole Ziploc thing. “The customs lady was kidding, right??” he asked. “I mean, it’s just freezer bags… people don’t bring those things from America, do they? That’s just ridiculous.”
Ben Gurion International Airport: As World Leaders depart Israel after paying their respects to the late Statesman Shimon Peres, United States Secretary of State has added another diplomatic feather to his cap, having successfully negotiated a 7,000 Shekel ($1,800) taxi cab ride from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion International Airport. The Daily Freier spoke with Mr. Kerry at Terminal One about how he successfully secured the price for his 34 mile journey with Shlomo, a Jerusalem cab driver.
“Having been in the diplomatic game for some time, I have an appreciation for the subtleties and nuance of Middle Eastern discourse and bargaining that may escape others.” explained the Secretary of State before launching into a small anecdote about how Akko reminds him of Martha’s Vineyard.
Lod: Terminal One of Ben Gurion International Airport is in police custody today after killing a woman’s nostalgia for “the Old Israel” of her youth. Orly G., a dual Israeli-American citizen, had just finished 2 weeks of visiting childhood friends and her cousins’ Kibbutz in the North and was en route to the United States when the crime occurred. The Daily Freier rushed to the scene to get the facts.
“It just happened so quickly.” explained a visibly shaken Orly. “I got to the Airport with my husband Avi two hours early. He’s flying to London for business, and when we got to the Airport it turned out that his flight was out of the main terminal and my flight to New York was out of Terminal One. That’s where things started to go wrong.”
Orly continued to explain. “I have to admit that all the time on the Kibbutz and catching up with my friends had made me reminisce of the old times…..But then, Avi goes straight through security to the big Terminal with the giant fountain and the atrium and the good Wi-Fi and the sushi. And me? I get to stand outside and wait for a bus. And when the bus gets to Terminal One, it’s like the ceilings were lowered another 5 feet or something. And the color scheme of the Terminal….it’s like they worked hard to make you more depressed or something….Don’t get me started on the Duty Free….. Even the guys at Security seemed depressed that they had to work there instead of in the Happy Place…..The whole week, I’ve been reminiscing about life here in the ’90’s. Well guess what? I’m done with all that. Next time I want nostalgia I’ll listen to the Black Crowes. Oh and the whole time Avi kept helpfully sending selfies of him drinking Stella and eating sashimi….I’m still not speaking to him.”
After Orly’s moving statement, the Daily Freier joined with other members of the Press to witness Terminal One being escorted into the Lod Police Station under heavy guard, and were able to snap photos of Terminal One with moustache and unruly Jewfro, dressed in a lime green leisure suit, brown pointy shoes, and a ruffled shirt unbuttoned to his navel in the same color scheme as the chairs in the Terminal. He attempted to scream out that he was innocent, but his mouth was full of sunflower seeds.
UPDATE: Orly’s current mood brightened somewhat after landing at JFK and discovering that Airports can in fact suck even more than Terminal One.
Tel Aviv: Spinal Tap’s much-anticipated bookings in Israel for their 2016 Summer Tour have placed the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions gang in a bit of a conundrum: how to boycott and shame a band that doesn’t really, like “exist”. Yet this has not stopped BDS, with the level-headed pragmatists at Electronic Intifada leading the way. “We’ve stalked all the real bands, so we were like, why not harass a fake band on a fake tour? I mean, isn’t that the point of BDS? To get worked up about something that never really existed?”
BDS’ efforts have recently received a boost, with Roger Waters chastising his fellow veterans of the British scene for their plans to rock their Israeli fans. Asked to describe how annoying Mr. Waters’ pestering has become on a scale from 1 to 10, Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel described the Ex Pink Floyd frontman as “going to 11“
Not to be outdone, new BDS powerhouse Vassar College joined the scrum, declaring that if Spinal Tap played Israel, they would not be welcome at their campus, before admitting that nobody really wants to play in Poughkeepsie anyway.
Tel Aviv, Bograshov: Apparently your Roomba cleaning robot has informed the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that you have been violating her religious rights by forcing her to operate during the hours of Shabbat, as there is now a Rabbi at your door demanding to speak with her.
So apparently, in addition to helping Rivka to get in touch with the Rabbanut, Yossi also helped Rivka contact the Worker’s Rights NGO Kav LaOved, because their attorney just stopped by as well. And it seems you’ve been served with papers explaining that you are expected to retroactively pay into her Bituach Leumi pension fund based on 9 hours per week from March 2013 through the present. Her attorney also let you know that if an amicable agreement is reached, Rivka will forget about the fact that you carried her past Customs at Ben Gurion Airport in your backpack 3 years ago without paying import duty.
Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport: Noted author, New York Times columnist, and pundit Thomas Friedman was detained early this morning at Ben Gurion Airport for attempting to illegally smuggle multiple clichés out of the country. In addition, he is being held for possession of several non-sequiturs and homespun bits of nonsense that he failed to declare to Customs upon departure. The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv has sent a Consular Affairs official to the airport in order to meet with Mr. Friedman. The Embassy explained that the intent was to ensure that Mr. Friedman is being treated in accordance with all agreements and protocols between the two nations vis-a-vis detention of citizens in transit. Meanwhile, the Daily Freier is on the scene of the unfolding crisis and speaking with Israeli Border Authority Spokesperson Sarit B.
“Mr. Friedman exceeded the mandated cliché limit that Israeli Customs Law dictates. Normally we let people go if they have one or two Masada references. Same with “Stuff your neighborhood juice guy told you”. You’re also allowed to have two camel anecdotes from the Negev……Birthright participants are allowed six.”
Mr. Friedman first attracted attention while standing on line waiting for the pre-departure interview. Alert local Ronit S. was waiting on line next to him and discreetly notified security that something was amiss. Ronit shared her experience with the Daily Freier; “So it’s 7 AM, I’m on my way to Rome for a week, and this guy will Not…Stop…Talking to me. At first I ignored him because I thought he was just trying to hit on me. Then I realized it was far worse. He was trying to convince me that the Bible was actually a lot like a tech start-up in Palo Alto.”
Suspicions were further raised when Mr. Friedman informed Passport Control officer David P. that “Bibi is still bargaining but the Shuk is about to close!” followed by “If Assad watched Seinfeld then Putin should have played American football.” David explained the chain of events to the Daily Freier; “He wasn’t making any sense.I even called over my supervisor and we just sat there staring at him dumbfounded as he compared the Gaza withdrawal of 2005 to the Amtrak Acela train from DC to New York. None of us could figure out what the hell he was talking about so we detained him.”
When the Daily Freier queried David as to why Mr. Friedman was still being held, he replied “I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask ‘Captain Obvious’ over there.” as he gestured to Mr Friedman pacing backs and forth in his holding cell. When the Daily Freier approached the cell to talk to Mr. Friedman, he began screaming “The world is flat!……I wish that Mark Zuckerberg could run Saudi Arabia for a day!….. I’m overpaid!….. Bibi is buying matzoh but Abbas is selling a carpet!….. Olive trees!….. Random hummus reference!…..When you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail!….. NASDAQ! …..Georgetown!…. Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer but Ariel Sharon was a rancher!….. That time I played backgammon with the late King Hussein!…. AirBnB could never work under Mubarak!….. What if King Solomon had Wi-Fi?”
Authorities were finally able to sedate Mr. Friedman with a phone call from a patient and genial Shimon Peres followed by an hour of traditional Israeli folk dancing with the guards, some of the cleaning staff, and the ladies who work in the duty-free shop.
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.