I can’t believe the trip to Israel is only two episodes. That’s a long way to travel for such a short amount of airtime. In case you missed it, Sherv gave a great interview about their trip, and many other things. Check it out!
We begin with everyone awake and dressed and ready to face the day, except for MJ who seems very clearly hungover. Last week, MJ was super drunk and inappropriate with some of the locals. Let’s just say this was not Tommy’s favorite episode.
A Day In Akko
The plan for the day is a trip to Akko where Christians, Jews and Muslims live together in perfect harmony according to Asa. Asa wants to make a documentary to include interviews with three spiritual leaders and some man on the street shots. Akko is a stunning city right on the Mediterranean sea. When they arrive, Asa goes to speak to the leaders while the rest of the crowd checks out the market.
Asa goes on a tour of the Ethnographic Museum that is inside the ancient walls that surround the city. I am loving this walking tour. The whole world peace theme to her conversations with the spiritual leaders could not have been more timely.
I am not loving idiot Reza feeding all of the stray cats. That would drive me up a wall. Apparently, Mike agrees. Even more annoying is that this group is randomly going up to people with a video camera in their face and asking them what religion they are. What is wrong with these people? Apparently, Mike and Reza are afraid of Arabs. They are freaking out that they are in an Arab area and there is a call to prayer from the nearby mosque. These two really needed to have gone with Asa and sought spiritual guidance. Her solo excursion has me singing “Father Abraham had many sons, and many sons, had Father Abraham, I am one of them, and so are you, so let’s all praise the Lord.” I wasn’t taught the part that some sons were Muslim and others were Jews. So that is sort of a systemic religious segregation right out of the box.
GG is as mystified as I am as to why the big men in the group are so nervous when she is just fine. Reza freaks out because there are toy guns in the children’s toys. I wish this were scripted but I don’t think it is based on Sherv’s Interview.
Asa comes back from her religious experience to a crowd that was totally non-receptive to her sharing. Reza grunts at some passerby for walking to close to MJ’s ample rear end. Asa tells Reza he is emitting a ton of negative energy. Mike and Reza think that people are “making gun noises” when that is likely not happening. This is disheartening. I can’t even recap his discussion with Asa. I understand that as a gay man he has issues with the government of Muslim countries. But was it not just two weeks ago when he was able to separate the Iranian government from the people of Iran?
On the bus, Mike’s bigotry is just as annoying. Everyone is trying to explain to him that he needs to accept other people and be open to other cultures and religions but he is convinced that the merchants were all planning to shoot him. GG has had enough of Mike’s anti-Islam attitude. This is not new for Mike, he freaked out in Turkey about all the mosques and the calls to prayer. I’m embarrassed for him of his lack of knowledge. He seems literally afraid of any culture where he doesn’t speak the same language or know what they are saying. It’s paranoia. How does he ever travel anywhere? MIke says the people of Israel see them as westerners who are constantly talking shit about their country. WTF is he talking about? Most of America and certainly nearly every president thinks Israel is the bees knees. We send tons of money to Israel. They have better missile protection domes than we do. Very few Americans seem to have any problem that Israel has occupied Palestine and taken the homes and land from their rightful owners and continue to have constant conflicted with the occupied citizens. That is all perfectly fine with America. We are a very pro Israel country. Nothing is going to happen to you in Israel, Mike.
I am so ashamed of Reza and Mike’s behavior. And now Mike wants to celebrate Shabbat with his family?
I am easily distracted by the gold bangles on Asa and MJ. I feel like I need more for my arm. Is that wrong?
Shabbat with Mike’s Family
I love seeing Mike greeting his family for the first time in ten years. It almost makes up for his Islamophobia all day. Almost. It’s GG’s first Shabbat. I’ve never had the pleasure of attending one. There seems to be drinking and bread and lots of good food. Reza has had a bit too much wine and he makes a toast at the dinner that refers to the Arab people in Akko as not “the real Israel.” Who says that? Who comes to Israeli and decides what is really Israel and what is not? I am mortified. When did GG become the voice of reason?
The Wailing Wall
Mike gives everyone a small notebook to write their wishes and dreams in for the Wailing Wall (Western Wall). It is not as they say the holiest place in the entire world. Again, offensive, but also it’s not the holiest place for Jews either, as that is the temple below the wall. Of course, Reza doesn’t really understand the concept of prayer, and wants to tell MJ she is doing it wrong. Reza things prayers are about asking for things. That has never been what prayer was about. Prayer is for glorifying God and asking for him to guide your steps and help you to grow as a spiritual person.
Seeing Jerusalem makes me a bit weepy. I get now why Luis from MDLNY is spending so much time in Israel right now. It’s like the center of mankind. I am looking for reminders of when I went as a child. Sorry I could not recap the scene at the Western Wall. I was just totally immersed in the experience.
Didn’t I see an episode of Parts Unknown where Bourdain said that the Jewish blessing people were all a scam? Am I misremembering that?
Next Week: Still in Israel! YAY.