Tuesday was Israel Independence Day. In addition to participating in the Junior Bible Quiz, the award ceremony for soldiers and the Israel Prize Awards, the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu also found time to participate in Eretz Nehederet, a popular political satire television show. Whether or not it is becoming of a Prime Minister to take part in such shows is something that I will leave to each reader to decide. It is certainly a strength of Israel’s democracy that such a program can run on Israel television, and is probably a good sign that the prime minister can let his hair down occasionally.
In response to a question regarding the national deficit, Netanyahu pointed out that he had coined the term Eretz Hehederet (a Great Country), and so the TV show was plagiarizing him. Whipping out a calculator, and based on the number of episodes, promo clips, newspaper advertisements and repeats, Netanyahu estimated that the copyright royalties he was due were approximately half the national deficit, i.e. about 20 Billion Shekels. Obviously his focus was not on copyright abuse, but some of the court cases regarding copyright infringement are a little like this, and we were reminded that many a true word is spoken in jest, or, as Geoffrey Chaucer put it in The Cook’s Tale, 1390 “But yet I pray thee be not wroth for game; A man may say full sooth in game and play“.