Israeli Public Broadcaster Files Police Complaints About Death Threats Over Satire Show

Company and producer cite explicit threats of physical harm as opponents of ‘The Jews Are Coming’ plan rally next week

Itay Stern
Itay Stern
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Actors in ‘The Jews Are Coming.’
Actors in ‘The Jews Are Coming.’ Credit: Michal Efraty / Kan public broadcaster
Itay Stern
Itay Stern

The public broadcaster Kan and the producer of the TV show “The Jews Are Coming” have complained to the police over death threats and other harassment against those involved with the satire program, which has sometimes portrayed biblical figures in a critical or humorous light.

On Sunday, the CEO of the Kan public broadcasting corporation, Eldad Koblenz, and the show’s producers provided police with hundreds of examples of harassing language and explicit threats, including physical ones, against the actors. Koblenz reported being threatened on social media, through text messages and by phone.

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Meanwhile, opponents of the show got permission for up to 1,500 people to protest in front of Kan’s offices in Jerusalem. The demonstration is expected to take place next Monday, during the show’s airing.

Two weeks ago, the Education Ministry removed two links to sketches from the show from its website after lawmakers from the Shas party demanded that Education Minister Yoav Galant do so.

That came after right-wing lawmakers called for sanctions on Kan for broadcasting “The Jews Are Coming.”

Lawmaker Betzalel Smotrich previously wrote to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit and demanded that he order the show halted, citing a clause in the penal code that forbids any public offense to faith or religious sentiments.

With regard to the threats and the police complaint, Kan said, “‘The Jews are Coming’ is a successful, quality satirical program. Freedom of expression and freedom of creation are supreme values in public broadcasting, as is self-directed humor. We will continue in our public mission without fear.”

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