Somewhere in Tehran. A phone rings.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: [lifts the receiver, clears throat] Peace be unto you and death to Israel!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Ali, old chap, it’s Bibi.
Khamenei: Mr. Prime Minister, you old son of an ape and pig! How’s life over there in the land you stole from my brothers, the Palestinians?
Netanyahu: You mean those people you didn’t give a hoot about until the Jews moved into the area? It would be better if you would kindly stop selling missiles to Hamas. Those Iron Dome batteries are expensive.
Khamenei: How expensive could they be? The Jews own all the world’s money!
Netanyahu: [exhales loudly and rolls his eyes] Anyway, that’s not why I’m calling today.
Khamenei: How can I help you, you blasphemous Zionist?
Netanyahu: Well my dear raghead, your dear democratically elected president said something today that piqued my interest.
Khamenei: Who, Mahmoud? By all of Mohammed’s wives I swear I will have him disemboweled with a spork. What did he say this time?
Netanyahu: Let me see just make sure I have the wording here correct. Sometimes these things get lost in translation [sound of papers shuffling]. Right, this is from your own state official Mehr News Agency from this morning. He said, “I am ready to be the first human to be sent into space by Iranian scientists.”
Khamenei: [slight pause] And?
Netanyahu: Well, let’s do it.
Khamenei: Do what?
Netanyahu: Send him into space. He didn’t say anything about wanting to come back, did he?
[Long pause. Khamenei strokes his impressive, Gandalfian beard.]
Netanyahu: All I’m saying is, let’s say your science programs start suddenly getting a little extra funding from some Israel-Iran reconciliation interest groups in the U.S. Maybe the Russians decide to donate a few parts to this noble human effort in the name of peace…
Khamenei: Go on…
Netanyahu: Sometime before the June elections, Iran miraculously announces it is ready for its first space flight. I mean, the North Koreans just sent their satellite up into space; why couldn’t you? Why should you let those Communists show up the great theocracy – I mean Islamic Republic -- that is Iran?
Netanyahu: And if the capsule happens to have some malfunctions because of the rushed timing of the mission…
Netanyahu: Or if it happens to drift over Israeli airspace on the way down…
Netanyahu: Accidents do happen. Space travel is notoriously dangerous. [Netanyahu strokes the fluffy white cat sitting in his lap, named Yair Lapid, who purrs in a slightly menacing way.]
Khamenei: You realize we’re still going to blame the accident on a conspiracy from the Zionist entity.
Netanyahu: Well, wouldn’t it be nice to actually be right about that for once?
Khamenei: Perhaps. But, supposing… [His voice drifts]
Netanyahu: You don’t get to divert those science funds for your nuclear program.
Khamenei: What nuclear program! There is no nuclear program! Well, there is, but it is a peaceful nuclear program! We want to bring peace to Allah’s holy land by nuking all you infidel Jews!
Netanyahu: [voice rising] Your mother was a Saudi harlot! You father smelt of pork! Your sister converted to Sunni Islam!
Khamenei: [shouting] THE HOLOCAUST IS A LIE!
[Yair the cat hisses into the phone]
Netanyahu: [voice drops to a lower, more treatening pitch] Oh, Ali, now you’ve made Mr. Lapid upset. You can’t upset the handsomest cat in Israel. Because when you do, he has a tendency to give launch orders to the Israeli Air Force in the direction of Tehran.
Khamenei: Are you threatening me, you American puppet?! Iran will never be stopped! Israel will never survive! Allahu Akbar!
Netanyahu: [takes a deep breath] Ali, let’s calm down. I think Mahmoud is rubbing off on you.
Khamenei: [panting slightly] OK, yes, yes. Sometimes my anti-Semitic instincts take over. Yes, I think this is an idea that could work quite nicely. That crazy man has been plaguing me ever since we faked his win against Mir Hussein Moussavi in 2009.
Netanyahu: See? We do have some common ground. Let’s see if we can’t work something in there. Now, what would Israel get in return for helping Mahmoud along on his little adventure?
Khamenei: The private thanks and public condemnation of most feared and respected ruler in the Middle East.
Netanyahu: You know, if I wanted that, I would just issue another statement telling Obama that he’s not giving Israel enough support. I want a total cessation of your nuclear program. Also new textbooks for your schoolchildren that don’t portray Jews as dogs.
Khamenei: Hey, now. Easy on the textbooks. The nukes, we can see about.
Netanyahu: Fine. No nukes, and no more rockets or financial support for Hamas.
Khamenei: Come on now, we need to at least keep up the appearance of being anti-Israel by being pro-Palestinian. How about you give us money for the space program, I’ll order that Mahmoud be mysteriously executed sometime before the June elections, I’ll blame his death on you, and then take the money and keep developing the nukes?
Netanyahu: [Sighs and hangs up the phone] So much for that bilateral solution. [Turns to Yair the cat] Learn this lesson well, Mr. Lapid, for one day you will be prime minister: This is why you can’t be nice to your neighbors.
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