Anger at BBC joke saying Israel ‘ignores the Arab population’ on vaccines
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Anger at BBC joke saying Israel ‘ignores the Arab population’ on vaccines

Complaint lodged following comment read out by actor David Tennant on popular sketch show, Have I Got a Bit More News For You

A complaint has been lodged to the BBC after actor David Tennant read out a comment on a popular comedy show, saying Israel “ignores the Arab population” when it comes to vaccinations

The actor read out the remarks on ‘Have I Got a Bit More News For You’ on Friday 9 April, as Israel’s embassy insists the country offers a jab to all its citizens, and has even run campaigns to encourage vaccination take-up for minorities.

During the clip, Tennant said: “According to the current roadmap, Britons will only be able to travel to countries with ‘a similarly high level of vaccination rate’.”

Displaying a list of the most vaccinated countries, which has Israel at the top on 61 percent and Britain second on 46 percent, he said: “As you can see Israel have populated 61 percent of their population which is pretty much everyone there if you ignore the Arab population, which they do. So they’re done.”

Criticising the segment, an Israeli Embassy in London spokesperson said: “Israel offered vaccines to all of its citizens above the age of 16, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or social status. Arab citizens in Israel have been offered vaccines and special campaigns in Arabic have targeted these communities in order to prevent misinformation and address any concerns that they may have in order to increase uptake.”

This comes after Israel announced it is to welcome the return of vaccinated UK holidaymakers from next month, amid its world-beating vaccination programme.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The comments were satirical and in keeping with audience expectations of this well-established topical entertainment show.”

You can watch the clip at 14 minutes and 40 seconds on BBC iPlayer.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

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