Israel is abuzz with news of the latest gadget, which its Maker claims is programmed with a complete guide to the new moral code.
“It's got the state-of-the-art decimal system of Commandments”, says patriarch Moses. He claims he was handed the device directly by Jehovah when it was officially launched on Mount Sinai, but ordinary customers will have to wait until it's in the shops.
The tablet is programmed to give a clear guide to any commandments being broken.
“It's quite fascinating”, says Moses, “for instance it's got a link to a database of the marriage records for the Land of Israel, so just key in the name of the person you're sleeping with, and hey presto - you'll know immediately if you're committing adultery”.
However, there is growing unease about the this new legislation, imposed from outside without consultation, and there is a burgeoning movement to opt out of at least some of the clauses. The Love Thy Neighbour one is particularly contentious. A representative of the Israelite Independence Party claims that the definition of “neighbour” is vague, and the Second Commandment could mean having to open the borders to Canaanites, Samaritans and even Philistines. He says the people could even be better off going back to worshipping golden calves than submitting to Jehovah, who he says has become arrogant and “all-powerful”.
Also, the Sabbath clause has outraged business leaders across the country. “This fourth Commandment seems almost an act of deliberate malice”, said the head of the Israelite Chamber of Commerce. “Everybody knows Saturday is the big shopping day”.
The country's rulers maintain their hands are tied in this matter, as they are bound by a Covenant with Jehovah signed up to by a previous administration. This is far from being a one-sided agreement, they say, and remind people of such spectacular past benefits as the deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.
The Hebrew Mail is in the forefront of the opt-out campaign. “Moses sold out his people”, it thunders in its latest editorial. “He went up Mount Sinai and came down with a tablet full of commandments drafted by an unelected and unaccountable deity whose name we aren't even allowed to utter. Where's the justice in that?”