Comedy writer from Israel’s version of Saturday Night Live on bashing the BBC

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Comedy writer from Israel’s version of Saturday Night Live on bashing the BBC

Itai Reicher of Eretz Nehederet tells Jewish News the show's sketches have united Israelis – and that if his writing changed people's minds, Netanyahu wouldn’t have been elected

Israel might be losing its PR war but, when it comes to humour, it’s winning by a landslide. Eretz Nehederet, the Israeli version of Saturday Night Live, has caught the world’s attention with its sketches lampooning the BBC. 

The sketch depicting a BBC anchor interviewing Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar went viral, greatly exaggerates the pro-Palestinian bias its been accused of, while highlighting some some clearly problematic editorial decisions in its coverage of the war.

The insistence on calling Hamas terrorists “militants” as well its factual mistakes have caused great anger among Israelis and Diaspora Jews. But it’s not the first time Eretz Nehederet (which translates as What a Wonderful Country!) has taken a satirical shot at the British media giant.

“Some 12 years ago we did a sketch but it didn’t go viral because social media wasn’t as strong as today,” head writer for Eretz Nehederet, Itai Reicher, told Jewish News in an exclusive interview.

Reicher, who together with a group of writers come up with ideas every week for the show, said the team usually focuses on what “infuriates” them, and what they feel strongly about, which is usually Israeli politics and “celebrities doing idiotic stuff around the world.”

“Normally, nobody in Israel gives a s*** about the BBC and super-woke campuses in the US,” Reicher said, referring to another sketch the show did about pro-Palestinian protests and antisemitism at American colleges.

“But when the Gaza war unfolded we saw the unfair treatment Israel gets from the media and academia around the world. So I have to say, the BBC started it,” he added.

Itai Reicher: ‘When you watch the BBC, you see how superficial it is’

One of the events that convinced the team to make a sketch about BBC’s coverage was the hospital explosion in Gaza. Hamas claimed that an Israeli airstrike at the hospital had killed 500 people.

Mainstream media around the world, including BBC, immediately ran with the story, citing Hamas as the only source before Israel had a chance to respond. Israel later proved it was a failed rocket by Islamic Jihad which caused the explosion, a claim backed by the United States, UK, Italy, France and Canada.

When asked if he thinks the wildly popular BBC sketches will change people’s minds about Israel, Reicher replies humbly: “I never feel like the work we do is so meaningful that it changes the world. That’s not why I go to work. I’ve done this for 17 years. If my writing changed people’s minds, Netanyahu wouldn’t have been elected. We live in a strange world where it’s easier to change a person’s gender than to change someone’s mind.”

“I don’t think we will change BBC or college campuses, I just want to make fun of them and to point out how ridiculous they are. When you watch the BBC, you see how superficial it is,” he added.

Reicher said the show draws inspiration from Monty Python and Saturday Night Live, which he says is an honour to be compared to, as well as the “greats” in comedy, such as Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and Ricky Gervais.

SNL is something we inspire to be,” he said. Reicher also said he feels that the BBC sketches have somehow united Israel.

Reicher is used to being a darling of the left-wing and centre in Israel, with its mocking sketches of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition.

“Usually we criticise Israel. We love this country and love living here, we are patriotic. This is the first time we criticise those who criticise us and this appeals to many people who dislike us. I got many comments from people saying ‘we didn’t know you loved this country, we thought you were self hating.’ And I always ask them what they think I’ve been doing all these years if i didn’t love the country,” he said.

Reicher is used to being a darling of the left-wing and centre in Israel, with its mocking sketches of Prime Minister Netanyahu and his coalition.

But after the BBC sketch aired, Reicher finds himself being praised by the right-wing, which he says “is a lot more fun.”

“When the left-wing compliments you it’s always ‘Yes, it’s alright. I liked the show.’ When the right wing compliments you its ‘I love you so much, you are amazing, what you are doing is so important. I wanna bake you a cake.’ My family is right-wing so I wasn’t surprised. But don’t worry, in about a week they will start hating us again. Eventually we will go back to our self-hating selves.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: