Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticized 'Saturday Night Live' for a joke implying that Israel was vaccinating only Jewish citizens.
Speaking to Fox News Thursday, Netanyahu called the joke "just outrageous."
“It’s so false,” he said. “In fact, I brought vaccines and went especially to the Arab communities, the Arab citizens of Israel, and vaccinated as many as we can. I must have gone to half a dozen Arab communities already, talked with the mayors there, brought the leaders, brought the doctors there – Arab doctors."
During the segment in question, comedian Michael Che said: “Israel is reporting that they’ve vaccinated half of their population. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half."
The joke sparked outrage among American Jewish groups which have demanded that the show apologize.
Former New York State assemblyman Dov Hikind 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."
Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein also strongly criticized the segment, saying: “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.”
“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.