WHEN IN THE US, SPEAK ENGLISH. Donald Trump’s retort to Jeb Bush’s rattling off in Spanish on the campaign trail conjures an old joke told in Israel of my youth. It was aimed at the ultra-orthodox Jew who dresses weirdly and won’t speak Hebrew. Here goes:
Walking down the street is a Sabra (a Jew born in Israel), clad in the pioneer’s outfit of shorts and a Tembel Hat. (“Tembel” is Hebrew for silly. The image below illustrates how not even a beautiful Israeli girl can dignify a hat so useless as to provide no protection from the merciless sun.)
From across the street, in Yiddish—the language of the diaspora—an ultra-orthodox Jew clad in black garb shouts obscenities at the Sabra. The minuscule ultra-orthodox community believes that speaking Hebrew before Messiah arrives is heretic and will delay the coming of Messiah (also known as the longest coming in history). For Messiah to materialize, the Jew must remain weak, dispossessed and persecuted—a sickly spirit without a corporeal country to call his own.
The Israeli shouts back, “Speak Hebrew, goy!” Goy meaning non-Jew.
Trump took a jab at Jeb for using Spanish to dismiss the mogul’s conservative credentials. Via CNN:
“‘I like Jeb,’ Trump told Breitbart News. ‘He’s a nice man. But he should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States.'”
The Trumpian reference was to the former Florida governor’s comments to reporters … about Trump’s policies. “‘El hombre no es conservador,’ Bush said, which translates to, ‘This man is not a conservative.'”
Not only was Trump’s visceral retort in defense of English righteous; it was also culturally conservative in the best of ways. …