ANATomy- exploring the heart and bones of Israel with Anat Hoffman

By ANATomy- exploring the heart and bones of Israel with Anat Hoffman

ברוכים הבאים – Welcome to Israel! Where 8,424,904 people live in just over 8,000 square miles. 74.7% of them are Jews, and just over 20% are Arabs. And Palestinians? Nobody really knows…somewhere between 4.5 and 6 million? We have two walls. One is holy, and the other divides us. Although, the truth is, the holy one divides us as well. Israel declared its independence in 1948 in Tel Aviv, but Jerusalem is the capital. By the way, there are 80 people living in Israel named Jerusalem. 8 of them actually live in Jerusalem. Israel’s economy is larger than all of the economies of its neighboring countries combined. That’s not surprising when you consider that Israel is the country with the most academic degrees in the world in relation to its size. The same goes for museums. And start-ups. And doctors. Israel’s population is made up of mostly secular Jews, but you can’t get married in Israel outside of the Chief Rabbinate. This has led to a lucrative wedding industry in Cyprus. During Passover you can’t display chametz in public, but you can sell it. There is no law against driving on Yom Kippur, but no one does. On Purim, everyone dresses up as American cultural heroes. And, most importantly, don’t worry if you want to send a letter in Israel—the glue on the post stamps is kosher. Christians in Israel have been arguing amongst themselves for 1,000 years, and aren’t willing to hand over the keys to the door of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to their own brothers. So, the key is kept by a Muslim family that opens the door for them every morning. Israeli cows produce more milk than any other cows in the world, yet we have had a butter shortage for a full year. In Israel there is mandatory military service, three years for boys and two years for girls. How many actually enlist? You’ll have to listen to the next episode. The most popular sport in Israel is soccer. Israel’s national team is ranked 93rd. In Israel we speak Hebrew. A historic language that has recently been revived. Arabic is also an official language in Israel, and it appears together with English on street signs and all official publications. Israeli Jewish students do not have to study Arabic. They learn English starting in third grade. In the market in Gaza, shoppers buy fruits and vegetables with Israeli shekels. But Israelis don’t shop in the market in Gaza. Speaking of fruits and vegetables, Israelis have the highest consumption compared to any other nation in the world (relative to the country’s population.) Nonetheless, most agricultural produce is exported and most produce purchased by Israeli citizens is imported. Are you confused? So are we. Shalom, I’m Anat Hoffman, and soon we will try to make some order out of this balagan, this mess. We will try to understand the ANATomy of Israel. The country’s past and the present, its national and political DNA, the everyday Israel, and modern Israeli culture. The beautiful and the less photogenic side, the profanities and the poetry. I invite you to join me on this journey of getting to know Israel. It will be a trip that will be depressing yet optimistic, tragic yet comedic. ANATomy – a true Israeli podcast, from the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). I’ll be waiting here for you.

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