The Shmooze

McDonald’s Comes to Masada

By Nathan Burstein

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Would you like fries with that mass suicide?

Visitors to Masada can now ponder Jewish martyrdom while eating fast food, thanks to the recent opening of a McDonald’s at the historical site. The latest issue of Time Out Tel Aviv reports that the fast-food chain “just opened a branch inside the visitors center of the sombre ruined fortress,” where a besieged group of Jews killed themselves “rather than face a life of slavery at the hands of their Roman captors.”

Time Out notes a certain irony in the arrival of McDonald’s, long derided by critics as an example of American “cultural imperialism.” Masada has come to symbolize “the refusal to bow down to the evil imperialist,” the magazine says, but is “now home to a branch of everyone’s favorite burger chain.” Some other Israelis have agreed, including one who says the new McDonald’s “shows that the forces of global capitalism are taking the fight to the heart of the Zionist narrative.”

That said, the magazine sees some potential in the new McDonald’s outlet, even if most visitors won’t acknowledge it.

“We bet that, even if you won’t admit it, a nice, cold milkshake at the end of a sightseeing trip might end up being a welcome affair,” Time Out suggests.


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