Monday, March 11, 2013

American Embassy in Israel Plans 'Obama-ba Festival' [Updated]

    Preparations continue for President Obama's first visit to the country as president.  The US Embassy in Israel through its American Center in Jerusalem is planning "the Obama-ba Festival," which will run all this week preceding the visit.
    The festival includes various activities, such as an informal coffee with an embassy diplomat, two rock concerts, and a special theatre group presentation for children on the prevention of violence.  The rock bands participating are a Jerusalem rock group called "Even Yerushalmi" and a "high energy Tel Aviv rock group, the Heeby Gee Bees."  The children's presentation is described as:
“Yael Does It Differently.” Educational presentation for children on the prevention of violence. Created andperformed by Yael’s Theater Group with special participation of Hatsiloo the clown.  After the show, children will be invited to share and describe their experience in drawings for President Obama.
    Also in advance of the visit, the US Embassy is holding a contest that will award 20 tickets to President Obama's speech.
The U.S. Embassy in Israel is announcing a contest to be held on its official Facebook page in which it will provide  up to 20 invitations to President Obama’s speech. Facebook users are asked to “like” the page of the U.S. Embassy, and write – in the most original and creative way – why they should be invited to attend the speech. The winners will attend the speech together with hundreds of students and other invited guests.
    The name of the Obama-ba Festival is apparently a play on the name of a popular snack food in Israel, Bamba.  [See update below.]  Wikipedia describes the snack:
Bamba is made from peanut butter-flavored puffed corn. Bamba contains no cholesterol, preservatives or food coloring, and is enriched with several vitamins. Nevertheless it contains high amounts of fat and salt. It has 544 calories per 100 grams. Bamba is certified Kosher by Badatz Jerusalem. Some describe it as "Cheez Doodles without the cheese."
    Although the president may be flattered by the comparison as a commentary on his popularity in Israel and his support for the U.S. ally, Michelle Obama, well known for her emphasis on healthy eating, might take exception to the high fat, salt and calorie content.  Mrs. Obama is not expected to accompany her husband on this trip.

Note: This story first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

UPDATE: I have heard via email from two individuals both saying the same thing. I am off base in my "Bamba" supposition.  Here is an excerpt from one of the emails: ""Obama-ba" is not a reference to Bamba and Israelis reading the Hebrew wouldn't see it that way (especially because the spelling is different).  "Obama ba" simply means Obama is coming.  If there is any allusion here it is to the children's song about Passover coming: "Aviv heggi'ah, pesach ba" which means Spring has come, Passover is coming (or has come).  And of course, Passover is coming very soon. "

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