Health Minister Yuli Edelstein on Monday ripped the popular comedy show “Saturday Night Live”, after it aired a joke that suggested Israel is vaccinating only its Jewish citizens against COVID-19.
“SNL just to let you know that anti-Semitism is not funny, it is dangerous, and also a lie. By the way, in Israel, all residents regardless of religion and ethnicity have equal access to vaccines, and Israeli-Arabs enjoy one of the highest vaccination rates in the world,” Edelstein said.
“Satire is supposed to be funny, not offensive and your ‘joke’ is nothing more than an anti-Semitic lie, which can have dangerous consequences in a country where only two and a half years ago 11 Jewish worshipers were murdered, just because they were Jews,” he added.
On the episode which aired this past Saturday night, Michael Che said, “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.”
The joke sparked outrage by Jewish groups which have demanded that the show apologize.
Former New York State assemblyman and head of Americans Against Antisemitism tweeted, “Unsurprising coming from SNL as they have a long record of antisemitism.”
“But Michael Che or whoever wrote that ‘joke’ is obviously also ignorant of fact that Israel has Arab citizens who’ve received the vaccine according to the same qualifications as Jews!” he added.
Activist and former spokesman Avi Mayer tweeted, “It's all fun and games until you start promoting antisemitic myths, SNL.”
“Every Israeli citizen—Jewish and Arab, Muslim, Christian, of any or no faith—is eligible to be vaccinated; 2/3 of Israel's Arab citizens over 60 already have been.”
Approximately 70% of Israeli Arabs over 60 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, Israel transferred doses of the vaccine to the Palestinian Authority and even approved vaccine transfers to Gaza.
As former Ambassador Alan Baker pointed out in a recent interview with Arutz Sheva, Israel is in no way obligated to deliver vaccines to Palestinian Arabs or to residents of Gaza.