Israeli comedy show mocks Eurovision Song Contest, Columbia protesters – Israel Culture

Following a Eurovision Song Contest unlike any other last weekend in which Israel’s contestant, Eden Golan, faced threats, harassment, boos, and rudeness of practically every kind imaginable, the comedy show Eretz Nehederet (Wonderful Country), on Keshet 12, featured a sketch Tuesday night in which Defense Minister Yoav Gallant kidnaps the Eurovision contestants who called for Israel to be banned and who asked not to sit in the same room with Golan.

Switzerland’s Nemo, who won the competition this year; Ireland’s snarling self-described “witch” Bambie Thug; Holland’s Joost Klein; and Greece’s Marina Satti were all brought blindfolded to the studio to apologize to an exhausted Golan.

Eretz regular Shani Cohen was doing an impression of Golan when the genuine article walked in, smiling graciously, as she did in spite of everything throughout the competition. Gallant orders the crass and classless contestants to beg for forgiveness. When they don’t cooperate, Gallant brings in Yizhar Cohen, the first Israeli to win Eurovision in 1978, who also fails to elicit any remorse from the Euro-brats.

Finally, Golan saves the day, saying, “It’s OK, let them go, I forgive them. Music brings us together.”

Gallant asks if she really forgives them, and she jokes that she did better than most of them in the competition, which was the truth. Golan came in fifth, higher than any of these haters except Nemo, and second in the audience voting.

Eden Golan representing Israel performs on stage during the second semi-final of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, in Malmo, Sweden, May 9, 2024. (credit: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters)

In an appropriate coda to the sketch, the always positive Golan brings Nemo another trophy to replace the one he dropped, which he then drops again.

Host Eyal Kitzis says that while Golan may have forgiven them, “karma doesn’t forgive (them).”

In an earlier sketch, the show made fun of woke college students protesting in support of Palestinians in general and often in support of Hamas specifically, for the third time since the outbreak of the war. It parodied Johannah King-Slutzky, the PhD student who actually warned that students illegally occupying a building could “die of dehydration and starvation…. Like, could people please have a glass of water?’’

In the Eretz Nehederet skit, which was barely more absurd than the real incident, she asks for various kinds of nondairy milk, to accommodate the food sensitivities of the protesters.

“We also need organic tents, free-range blankets… sunscreen; we need sun, and rain, at the same time,” she continued. “This is basic humanitarian aid!”

Two Columbia students played by Eretz Nehederet regulars

Two Columbia students, Kelcy and Wordle – played by Eretz Nehederet regulars Liat Harlev and Tamir Bar – who previously tore down posters of the hostages, were shown chanting for an intifada, then trying to figure out what the word meant and deciding it was a kind of salad, “with sprinkles of jihad on top.”

A real news clip of a campus protester is shown saying that Hamas members are not terrorists, and then Eretz Nehederet changed the soundtrack, with the protester yelling that “October 7 is not real. October is not a month. Sugar is not sweet,” as protesting students agree with her, until she says that “Beyonce’s ‘Jolene’ is good,” which they simply can’t agree to.

Kelcy calls her father to say she hates him, loves Hamas, and needs money to have “Hamas” tattooed all over her face. Cringe-worthy contemporary dance numbers at the protests also come in for parody.

“I’m going to die for this cause. Can someone please Google for me what the cause is?” one protester pleads.

Adolf Hitler joins the protests, saying, “These demonstrations are not antisemitic. I have no problem with the Jews. The Jews are very nice. It’s only against Zionists. Zionists should be exterminated!”

Finally, Kelcy and Wordle chant that “rape is a legitimate kind of resistance,” while a gay student’s navel ring warns him against traveling to Gaza: “You know what they’d do to us there, right?”

COMING JUST at the conclusion of the Remembrance Day and Independence Day observances, Tuesday’s show opened with a typically biting song and dance number, with Israelis trying to have a barbecue but singing about the new reality of endless missile alerts North and South and those whose families have been kidnapped to Gaza. At the end, they sing that things can’t get any worse, to which Harlev responds hesitantly, “Right?”

There was also a bitter sketch in which National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and other politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were asked to imagine that their children had been kidnapped to Gaza.

They then showed a dungeon, where four children of prominent politicians were sitting, chained to the floor, guarded by a Hamas terrorist. Yair Netanyahu, who has been living in a luxury apartment since even before the war broke out, asked for room service, and another one of these politicians’ children complained they had been there 100 minutes already.

Just then, the terrorist received a phone call saying they would all be released immediately, an angry commentary on the feelings expressed by many of the hostages’ families that the politicians would act very differently were their own children in danger.

At the end, the entire cast appeared in T-shirts bearing the names of kibbutzim and communities that have been abandoned since October 7, promising to rebuild everything and wishing for the return of the remaining hostages as soon as possible.

It was a touching moment for the show, where affection for Israel is always mixed with humor. Kitzis said, “We have a wonderful country,” his sign-off line, but his voice wavered, mirroring the uncertainty many Israelis have been expressing recently.

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