Israel's public television network Channel One sparked a controversy on Sunday when it posted a 20 second promo to its YouTube channel for an upcoming sketch comedy show. The massive backlash forced the channel to remove the promo within less than a day.
The promo, for a show called "Hayehudim Ba'im" (The Jews are coming), featured the characters Yigal Amir -- convicted murderer of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin -- Baruch Goldstein -- who murdered 29 Muslim worshippers in 1994 at the Cave of the Patriarchs before being beaten to death -- and Yona Avrushmi -- who lobbed a grenade into the crowd at a Peace Now demonstration killing peace activist Emil Grunzweig in 1983.
In the promo, the three men are seen prancing through rainbows and butterflies and singing "sometimes I am a hero and sometimes I am a killer" and "I am a right-wing murderer" to the tune of a popular children's song.
As soon as it was posted, the video went viral. Most of the responses condemned the skit for racism and tastelessness and "auto-anti-Semitism." Very few internet users found the promo funny or entertaining.
"It is appalling that the taxpayers' money is being used to make this kind of satire," MK Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) was quoted by Ynet as saying. "They represent settlers as murderers; it is insulting to an entire population. I am against shutting people's mouths but there is a line."
According to Ynet, Shaked filed an official complaint with Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, saying "I was shocked to see this inciting, extremist promo for a new satire show on Channel One. The promo depicts settlers as blood-thirsty murderers. This is what our tax money pays for?"
After the promo was removed, sources at Channel One reportedly said that the video had been posted erroneously, and that the network had not yet approved airing the show.
Moni Moshonov, a renowned Israeli actor and one of the participants of the satire show, said Sunday: "First watch the show, and then decide whether to get insulted. Why judge the show after nine seconds of promo? It is upsetting that, without having seen the show, there is already such a response, and it is even more infuriating that people from every direction are trying to shut us up. It smells unclean and impure."