Simpsons at The Western Wall

Somehow they haven’t aged. It’s probably got nothing to do with their diets. More likely the fact that they’re animated. After 20 years, the Simpsons are finally coming to Israel. The episode is scheduled to coincide with Passover, and details of the plot are sketchy, but what we do know is that Homer will develop “Jerusalem Syndrome,” symptoms of which are unclear.

The picture released for publication shows the family at the Wailing Wall, but personally I think it would be a lot funnier watching them try to get through the Jerusalem shuk on Mahane Yehuda and wade through the merchants selling everything from buffalo feet to fish guts to Kiddush Cups, knitted kippot, and Israeli spices. Let’s just hope Homer doesn’t expel gas on the Temple Mount and cause an international incident. Something tells me he will, though. Maybe Bart will even celebrate his Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the wall. I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, has already made Bar Mitzvah related jokes in his other shows. In Futurama, the robot Bender crashes a Bot Mitzvah and speaks to the robot Rabbi. “You don’t believe in robot Jesus?” he asks.

“We believe he was a robot,” the robot Rabbi replies, “and he was a very well programmed robot. But he wasn’t the Messiah.”

The tourism ministry was rather happy, its spokesman saying that the episode will “…without a doubt create an improvement in the reputation of Israel in the world and will encourage people to come and visit and enjoy Israel.”

It would be so postmodernly appropriate that a cartoon would succeed where decades of Israeli public relations tactics have failed. No question that it will help increase tourism temporarily, but the effect will fade in a month or two, and then it’s back to the drawing board.