This article originally appeared in the Jewish Free Press, Calgary

Vowels to Poland in New Israeli Trade Pact*

Exclusive to the Jewish Free Press

(Tel-Aviv-Warsaw) The most ambitious export agreement yet between Israel and a former Eastern-bloc nation was announced today in a surprising joint declaration of the Polish and Israeli trade ministries.

Yeroham Kamatz-Katan, Deputy-Undersecretary of the Linguistic Commodities Division of the Israeli Trade Ministry declared that Israel would be selling to Poland more than a billion dollars worth of discarded Hebrew vowels.

Lifting a glass of vodka prior to the signing of the treaty, Polish bureaucrat Zbwgnv Plctytskv declared that the new agreement would indeed have momentous efects on Polish speech and literature. "Much of our current economic problems can be attributed to the fact that nobody else can understand what we're saying. Even we don't understand each other most of the time."

Following the Purim press conference Zebewgoniew Polictyetov expressed his satisfaction over the deal, noting how much easier it is now to pronounce his name.

Asked about how Israel would be able to manage without vowels, Mr. Kametz-Katon (whose office had been created in the process of the haggling over the 1949 coalition government, and subsequently forgotten) remarked that "no one here ever uses vowels anyway except in children's books. Frankly, we have no way of storing the little dots, which keep falling out of their bags."

The proposed pact is expected to be a hot issue in the upcoming Israeli elections. The Federation of North African Jews objected that Israel was getting rid of more "o"s than "oy"s, a move regarded as blatant discriminattion against Sfaradic Jews. Kumitz-Kotan dismissed these accusations as the words of an insignficant but vocal minority.

The government has succumbed to pressures from Religious parties to supply guarantees that enough vowels will be left for Bibles and prayer-books. "We will also be checking very carefully that the shipments are not sent out on Shabbes."

Right-wing demonstrators are marching in front of the K'neset with placards condemning the government's willingness to "trade our heritage for a mess of borscht."

American Secretary of State Baker stated that his government will be monitoring the transaction to make sure that none of the vowels originated in the occupied territories.

In response to an inquiry from the Free Press about whether Canada would be considering a similar deal, a Trade and Commerce spokesperson replied, "At this moment Canada does not have any surplus vowels to sell, eh?"

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First Publication:

  • Jewish Free Press, March 16 1992.