Fans of the popular reality show have reluctantly accepted the fact that their favorite series is concluding. For instance, in a televised interview, Aviva Cohen from Ramat Gan, said: "This is very sad. I loved Gilad and the show; life just won't be the same without him." In a poll released yesterday, 76% of Israelis said that they would like to see Shalit star in a new show: "He's a great actor and an outstanding person and he has natural charisma," said Yaron Sneh from Haifa, " I think he can be the next Leor Miller." Many thousands are expected to welcome Gilad Shalit home in the final episode of the show, which will air this evening.
In an interesting twist, the producers of the show, which include Israel's leading media conglomerates, have managed to stage a so-called prisoner swap, in which Gilad Shalit will be exchanged for a thousand prisoners, including hundreds of murderers. Critics have blasted the finale as being ridiculously artificial even for a reality show. "There are limits to what the Israeli public will believe and accept," said TV critic Moshe Yahalom, "Even Israelis would not believe that the government would make such a stupid decision." However, the production company defended the decision, saying that the Israeli public has accepted and embraced even more patently false reality shows such as the Oslo Accords, The Disengagement, The Rabin Assassination and more. "There is no reason not to assume that the public will not accept and even enjoy the prisoner swap," said producer Marvin Hammersfield. "With any kind of luck, some or even many of the prisoners will resume their activities - perhaps we will have another kidnapping, or a series of bus bombings like in the nineties."
"Israelis love a good bombing campaign," concluded the producer optimistically. "Nothing gets ratings like a good suicide-bombing campaign and the inevitable funerals, soul-searching, and mutual recriminations that follow them."
Amusing Ourselves to Death indeed. Personally, I wish to have no part in this sick drama. I am an old-fashioned kind of guy: I can face reality without the help of a production company that spends most of its time explaining to the Israeli public why it has to die.
Anyway, I wish everyone a Happy Gilad Shalit Day, and may you and your loved ones never pay the bloody price for this frivolous act of self-indulgence.