The Ruderman Family Foundation denounced what it called the “hurtful remarks International Bible Quiz for Youth host Avshalom Kor made during Wednesday’s telecast.”
In Wednesday’s World Youth Bible Quiz, one of the annual highlights of Israel’s Day of Independence, Kor, a popular scholar of the Hebrew language and a regular on Israeli media, referred to Diaspora Jews as “Yahadut Ha’Gola,” which literally means the exiled Jewry but in colloquial use is as innocuous as the more modern “Yahadut Ha’Tfutzot,” Diaspora Jews.
But Kor apparently added insult to injury when he told one of the contenders from abroad: “In the Gola (exile) everything goes more slowly,” and regarding a female contender he said, “What does she have to smile about? She lives in the Gola (exile).”
Of course, since the fifth century BCE, when the concept of Jews living outside Israel first emerged, we referred to the Jewish community in Israel versus the Jewish community in exile. But in a letter addressed to Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz, the Foundation’s President Jay Ruderman, and Executive Director Shira Ruderman, accused Bible Quiz host Avshalom Kor of using “this respected platform to speak in a condescending manner to the teenagers representing different communities from around the world.”
The letter warned Minister Peretz to “distance [himself] from these hurtful comments and make it clear [that] the Ministry of Education’s views strengthening Israel’s ties with the Diaspora is an important value and national mission.”
Yes, they are, mostly so that they would pack up and exchange their lives in exile for a liberated future in the Jewish State, not so they perpetuate the two-millennia long exile…
“These statements are not only offensive to the participants and their families, but also to the millions of Jews who celebrated Israel’s 72nd Independence Day, out of love to the land, the country and the people,” the foundation bigwigs added. “Mr. Kor has contributed and continues to contribute to Israel and the Jewish People in many fields, but this cannot justify offensive behavior. We call on Mr. Peretz to make it clear that his comments do not reflect the position of the education ministry or his own personal opinion.”
So, naturally, Minister Peretz did call up Kor, who issued his heartfelt apology, recalling his years of service to the Jews in… well, the Diaspora, and the affection he has for every Jewish boy and girl from… over there? who participate in the Bible Quiz. Then he added the inevitable, ” I am sorry if anyone was hurt by interpreting my comments incorrectly.”
That’s it, problem solved, life in exile was once again spared from illegitimacy, and, even more important, philanthropy was once again proven to be a powerful means of controlling those pesky media figures.
By the way, as is usually the case in these quizzes, the finalists were both Israeli teens, a boy and a girl, and the girl, Ruth Cohen, won.