Comedian, actor, writer, and producer Elon Gold spoke with Arutz Sheva - Israel National News about his trip to Israel and attempts to lend moral support to the public.

He began by praising the recent hostage rescue operation in Rafah that brought two of the hostages home alive. “It was an operation we can’t even begin to imagine, and it went off without a hitch. I am so proud of every soldier. It was unbelievable.”

“I decided to come to Israel on October 8th,” he explained. “I got the news, and it was unfathomable to me. I was still reeling from the Dee family tragedy, but to find out that it was 1200 - I thought, are we just going to allow this slow Holocaust to continue? We have to stop this terror.”

He criticized US President Joe Biden’s stance on the war: “The President of the United States is saying not to go into Rafah. What if that was your kids? I was rooting for Biden at first, but now it’s completely reversed. No one should be telling Israel what to do because no one knows what it’s like to be surrounded by enemies.”

He said the war has encouraged antisemitism worldwide: “I don't even think we got twenty-four hours before people on the streets were yelling ‘gas the Jews’. It was like the world was saying ‘We hate you, and we’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time, so we’ll take this opportunity to tell you full-on’ - and this was before we went into Gaza. There were also Holocaust-denial levels of October 7th denial. It was insane.”

Gold’s status has brought him into conflict with other notable figures: “I spent three hours on Friday arguing with a very famous comedian who posted that the IDF is spraying white phosphorus gas in Gaza. It’s a war crime, and it’s genocidal, but it’s also a lie. I told her this is how blood libels start - ‘they killed Jesus, we should kill them.’ Now, it’s ‘they’re attacking Palestinians, we should attack them’.”

He had a message for the world as well: “We don’t want to kill anyone, we only want peace and coexistence with our neighbors. How do they not see that? I was joking about this on stage recently, saying ‘Look at history. Anyone who tries to wipe out the Jewish people is themselves wiped out. Don’t make us defend ourselves.’”

He talked about his return to performing after the war broke out: “It was tough. I had important shows where I just said ‘I can’t be funny when people are suffering’. A few weeks later, another show called, and I told them ‘You’re calling to cancel on me’ because everyone was - we didn’t know how long the war would last, and comedy wouldn’t have been right. He said ‘Quite the opposite - we need you to lift our spirits.’ I told him ‘I don’t know if I can be funny, and I don’t know if people can laugh’. I went to a show by my friend Modi the comedian a few nights before to see if people could still laugh, and he was rocking the house. Everyone needs to take a moment to laugh. With all the horror, we’re still human, and we have to continue.”

The laughs aren’t the only thing that’s important, though: “I did an hour and twenty-five-minute show last night in Jerusalem. Sixty percent of it was about being Israel and being a Jew. People ask how I can laugh or make jokes about it. I would never make a joke about the hostages, for instance, or the death and destruction, but I do mock. My opening line last night, to almost a thousand people, was: “It is so good to

be home with my fellow genocidal apartheid colonizers.” There are all these labels that they’re trying to twist to accuse us of the crimes that we’re trying to prevent.’’

His shows also allow him to express his admiration for Israeli soldiers: “Israeli soldiers are my heroes. They’re the positive jokes. Every aspect of the men and women of the IDF and Israel Police is amazing, and I never pass by without thanking them.’’

He spoke about his trip to southern Israel and the communities attacked by Hamas: “That was a main reason I mean I came here. First and foremost, to just make my people laugh and give them a break. These are people who are beyond traumatized and I wanted to give them a moment to just forget everything and just feel united and laugh and have a good time, even for an hour and a half. It was also important for me to bear witness, to see it for myself. It was beyond difficult and painful. What kept me from crying was that it was so unimaginable - you say to yourself ‘Wow, it looks like that house was actually burned down or that house was actually shot up’. Nothing is real when you’re down there. There was also the fact that I had a camera crew with me, and had to keep narrating, so that helped me keep it together. I’ll cry on the flight back, though - and it’s going to be a long flight.’’

He related to how his shows - including one on the popular Israeli comedy show Zehu Zeh - help spread Israel’s message: “These shows aired very fast because there was the feeling that we needed to uplift and convey our messages through humor. There is no better way to convey a message than through humor. While you’re laughing, your brain doesn’t realize that the funny guy is actually teaching you something - it’s subconscious, involuntary.’’

He says that humor also forms a way for the rest of the world to connect to Judaism: “Jews have been entertaining the world forever. It’s what we do, take care of people - as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and teachers. We make people laugh, too. There’s a long tradition of Jews giving to society and culture. We call it Tikun olam, repairing the world. That’s the entire message of the Torah, to repair the world God gave us and make it a better place.’’

Gold believes that makes comedy not only a career but a mission. ‘’People ask me how I write jokes. How does a surgeon know how to open someone up and then heal them? You need to study in medical school, but you also need the gift. God gave me this gift, and that’s how I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

He claims that part of that mission is the fight against antisemitism: “You have a voice, you use it. Whether you have four followers or four hundred thousand, use your voice. There are way too many Jewish celebrities who don’t. Speak up, speak now. If not now, when? Isn’t that in Ethics of the Fathers?’’

He ended with a brief foray into politics: “I hate both extremes. I hate the far-left and the far-right. I’m right in the middle - issues, issues, issues - but when it comes to Israel, I’m all-in on Israel.”