Bibi says Iran is no laughing matter on Israeli comedy show


Comedy hosts sting Netanyahu on housing reform, settlements, and Iran’s nuclear program. The latter prompted a stern response.


A relaxed Benjamin Netanyahu appeared Sunday evening on the hit comedy show “Matsav Hauma” (“State of the Nation”) jousting with the hosts on topics ranging from Israeli politics to the Iranian threat and reiterating his stance on negotiations with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu in 'Matsav Hauma'

Netanyahu in ‘Matsav Hauma.’ – Photo: Niv Eshet Cohen

“The right wing says you can’t talk to [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas,” said host Merav Galili. “Maybe without the ruckus of the tractors building settlements you could hear him better?”

“This housing reform you’ve been promising,” asked another host, Guri Alfi. “We’ll find the Malaysian jet before it happens.”

“What were you most excited about with the capture of the Klos-C [the arms vessel intercepted by Israel], the missiles or the cement with which you could build more settlements?” Netanyahu was asked.

Netanyahu’s responses were jovial, but became serious when the topic of Iran came up – even after he was asked why he didn’t post a picture of him and the arms vessel on President Rohani’s Facebook wall.

“This is not a laughing matter,” Netanyahu said, “The Jewish people have been surprised time and again.” He then added, to audience applause, that he would not let another disaster befall the Jewish people. “It won’t happen on my watch,” he said.

As for the negotiations with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said he is “waiting for Abbas.”

“They want us to recognize a Palestinian state, but they won’t recognize a Jewish state,” he said. This refusal to recognize Israel as such, he added, is “the root of the problem.”

Earlier on Sunday, the show’s creators refused to divulge information on what Netanyahu may say, except that, in the words of anchor Lior Schlein, “it will interest a lot of people – from the Iranians to the manager of [the Prime Minister’s residence.]”

“Netanyahu spoke with us openly and honestly,” Schlein said before the episode was screened, “about political issues and also about his private life, even though we have criticized him for years. The dialogue was truly great, and all we had to do was recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

This was not the prime minister’s first appearance in a satirical show. About a year ago, Netanyahu appeared on “Eretz Nehederet” (“A Wonderful Country”), alongside actor Mariano Idelman, who usually portrays him. Netanyahu showed his humorous side when he mentioned how much he likes ice cream – a reference to reports detailing the large sums of money the residence spends annually on ice cream.

On that show, Netanyahu also mocked his coalition partners. When asked if he thinks Yair Lapid would succeed in his job as finance minister, Netanyahu hinted at Lapid’s fondness of social networks and said, “That question is too serious for TV. Let’s talk about it on Facebook.”


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