Assaf Harel, an Israeli late-night comedy show host, who is often referred to as “Israel’s Jon Stewart,” used his final show to deliver a powerful message to his fellow countrymen: “Wake and smell the apartheid.”
In his last monologue for “Good Night With Assaf Harel,” the host criticized the Israeli people for being oblivious to the ordeal of the Palestinian people.
For nearly 50 years, Israel has been using its military and economic might to drive desperate Palestinians into an isolated corner. This tactic has deprived the hapless people of their basic social and political rights, thereby creating apartheid.
Furthermore, in its pursuit of national interests, the Israeli government has made the situation even more difficult by painting Hamas militants and Palestinian civilians with the same brush.
And that’s exactly what Harel opposed in his monologue.
“If you look at our life from a bird’s-eye view, we’re doing pretty great. Really,” Harel stated. “Great weather, great food, great people, great beaches. It’s not so bad here, in general.
"And that’s exactly the point, that we’re doing great, but there are a couple of million people that we’re responsible for, and they’re in a horrible state. Infrastructure, food, health care, education. Millions who are living in abject poverty.”
The comedian criticized the right-wing Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is notorious for his aggressive and extremist approach toward Palestinians.
“Ever since the right-wing took power, more and more voices are warning of apartheid,” he said. “Are you kidding? Apartheid has been here for ages. Ages. It’s just that we’re on the good side, so it doesn’t really bother us.”
Harel also talked about the Gaza Strip, which has been turned into ruins after Israel’s 2014 military onslaught.
"Gaza is on the verge of plague, hours on end without electricity or water. Israel controls everything that goes in or out," he said.
While the Israeli government and military has been subjected to criticism in the past over its ruthless treatment of Palestinians, what makes Harel’s monologue different and very important is his takedown of the Israeli society — his fellow countrymen — who he says have remained oblivious to the plight of Palestinians, just because their hardline leaders have painted this horrible picture of Palestinians as the enemy.
“Israel’s most impressive innovation, more than any high-tech project or Rafael weapon, is our amazing ability to ignore what is happening mere kilometers away to our neighbors, a whole people, transparent, like it doesn’t exist.”