Erel Margalit, a loud-mouthed Israeli member of Knesset from the Labor Party, drew the ire of the internet on Thursday with a Facebook post in which he described Israel as a Fourth World country.
Margalit wasn’t referring to the fact that Israel has the highest child poverty rate among all OECD countries. He wasn’t referring to the fact that millions of people living under Israeli rule have no democratic rights. He wasn’t referring to the fact that Israeli police disproportionately arrest the country’s own Arab citizens.
Margalit wasn’t referring to his country’s refusal to process asylum claims of refugees fleeing genocide in Darfur. He certainly wasn’t referring to his government’s practice of imprisoning Palestinian members of parliament and others without charge or trial, based on secret evidence.
No, Margalit was mad that he had to change planes on his way to Geneva. He was mad that his country’s national airline identified a problem with its plane before takeoff and had the foresight to put passengers on a new plane in order to ensure that it didn’t, you know, mysteriously crash into the Mediterranean.
In the selfie taken in what appears to be a business class seat, Margalit wrote:
“On my way to a meeting with representatives of Arab countries in Geneva. The plane is stuck. [We’re] changing planes. This entire diplomatic presentation we’ve worked on could be canceled. Sometimes we’re not Third World, but rather Fourth World.”
The internet had some fun (the caption reads “Fourth World problems”):
Now, to be fair, the only time I’ve flown on El Al in the past five years or so resulted in an emergency landing in a country I had no interest in visiting, followed by a second flight on a plane that literally had holes in the interior wall.
Here’s a short video I shot of Greek firefighters meeting us on the tarmac in Athens before spraying down the plane to make sure, you know, that it didn’t explode. How Fourth World of them.