By Gilad Atzmon
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that “Hava Hershkovitz, 79, was crowned ‘Miss Holocaust Survivor’ at a pageant held in Israel on Thursday.”
On Thursday, in a most unusual event, 14 Jewish women who survived the horrors of the Shoa paraded vying for the honour of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”
Billed by the organizers as a ‘celebration of life’, the nearly 300 women from across Israel who registered for the competition were whittled down to the 14 finalists who appeared on Thursday.
As ever, suffering, victimhood and survival were shown to be at the heart of Jewish and Israeli culture. “I have the privilege to show the world that Hitler wanted to exterminate us and we are alive. We are also enjoying life. Thank God it’s that way,” said Esther Libber, a 74-year-old runner-up who fled her home in Poland as a child, hid in a forest and was rescued by a Polish woman.
The Miss Holocaust Parade seems to be one of the last remaining opportunities to extort cash out of the elder community. Today, nearly 200,000 aging survivors live in Israel – enough to keep some businesses afloat and I guess it is only a matter of time before we learn from the Huffington Post about the Shoa bodybuilding contest. (I understand that some survivors like my great uncle Yanka’le still visit the gym once a week). Such a contest could be endorsed by food supplement and weight lifting equipment companies – ideally Germans.
Apparently, Gal Mor, editor of the popular Israeli blog “Holes in the Net,” has already envisioned such a development, Yesterday, he pointed out that the Miss Holocaust pageant was misguided.
This is one step short of `Survivor-Holocaust’ or `Big Brother Auschwitz.’ It leaves a bad taste. Holocaust survivors should be above all this,” he wrote.
Actually, I disagree. The Israeli TV should seriously consider launching such a Shoa reality-TV show. They could call it ‘Big Mirror’ and in it they could, once again, incarcerate elder survivors – but this time in Gaza or Guantanamo Bay. Sitting comfortably on our sofas with a pizza and a beer, we could watch our Jewish heroes 24/7. And we can learn from them, the very people who survived Hitler, how to survive in our Zionized universe. Such a program would clearly yield huge revenues as well as being educational and ethically driven.
Legendary Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban must have seen it all coming when he coined his famous adage ‘there is no business like Shoa business.’