By Bradley Burston
When the Messiah comes, he will be without papers.
When the Messiah comes, he will be taken into a small room, off-white and chilled, with one gray metal chair at each side of a gray metal desk.
When the Messiah comes, he will be questioned by a junior officer of the Shin Bet, and by an official of the Interior Ministry, who got his job through his cousin, who is an inspector of ritual dietary observance at a cookie bakery and who got his job through his sister's father-in-law, third assistant to the deputy chair of the Shas party branch in Ramla.
When the Messiah comes, no one will know.
His donkey, which is white and is named Snowpea, will be impounded in a leaky underground police lot near the Lod railroad station. There will be no paperwork. By nightfall it will have disappeared, spirited into a closed truck by the lot's watchman, who after his shift will drive the donkey to a moshav. Money will change hands, and the donkey as well, four times, until it is sold by settlers to Palestinians some of whose ancestral land now lies inside the settlement fence.
When the Messiah comes, the first sign will be a gag order.
A coded report on a high-profile news website will be made to disappear. It will reappear on a blog in Seattle, and then in the Guardian. The government will delay response, finally issuing a statement ascribed to sources in Jerusalem, reading "We have no knowledge of this." The IDF, quoting an unnamed senior military official, will state that there is no evidence that a Messiah of any kind has come. It will later soften the denial, saying it is checking the report and directing reporters to the Defense Ministry, which turfs them to the Prime Minister's Office, which cannot be reached for comment.
When the Messiah comes, rabbis will treat him like Jesus.
They will brand him disloyal, diseased, Reform.
In wall posters, Sabbath sermons, ritual decrees and signed petitions, careful not to use his title, chief rabbis of cities and towns will warn of an existential threat to the essential Jewish character of the state. Under no circumstances are Jews to sell or rent homes or lots to someone like this. The rabbis' wives will vilify him as a carnal threat to Jewish girls.
The rabbis' declarations will divide the Jewish people and bring wrath and dishonor upon Israel. The rabbis will continue to draw large civil service salaries, as well as generous tips, in cash, goods and services under the table and off the books.
When the Messiah comes, the Right will crucify him. Im Tirzu will roll out ads and billboards showing him with a tail to go along with his horns. A blogger from Commentary will call him a whiny, petulant boob. In Maariv and the Jerusalem Post, seven columnists will all have at him in the same three day period. NGO Monitor will ask for donations to expose his sources of funding.
When the Messiah comes, the Occupation will end.
But before it does, a global social network led by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Fox News, The Zionist Organization of America and Daniel Pipes, will launch a campaign aimed at exposing the Messiah as a Muslim.
When the Messiah is crucified, the army will deny that he was even present at the time.
When the Messiah comes, an Israel political party whose voters are routinely denigrated by native-born Israelis as whores and non-Jews will propose legislation declaring him a delegitimizer of Israel and the army (over the crucifixion), a blasphemer of Zionism (for suggesting that the Palestinians were not the sole obstacles to peace), and rendering him ineligible for citizenship unless he signs a loyalty oath stating that even if Israel did practice crucifiction, it did so in a democratic and Jewish manner.
Aides to Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari, along with Beitar Jerusalem soccer fans, will take out a Facebook page headed "Mavet L' Mashiach" – Death to the Messiah.
When the Messiah comes, he will be granted refugee status by the United Nations as a legitimate seeker of asylum, but will be held at a detention camp in Israel's Area 51, near the perimeter of the Dimona nuclear reactor facility, where a judge will trick him into signing an illegible document, which will force his deportation to Chad.
By the time the messiah leaves the Jewish state, he'll be thrilled to go.