An advertisement for an Israeli cable TV company that jokes about attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities has been pulled offline in the wake of criticism.
The ad, for Israel’s HOT cable service, features members of the Israeli comedy series Asfur who sneak into Iran in drag, dressed as Muslim women — possibly in mock reference to the time former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat escaped capture dressed as a Muslim woman. They arrive in Isfahan — the site of a uranium conversion facility in Iran that experienced a mysterious explosion last November.
As the comedians walk through the town of Isfahan — a nuclear facility visible behind them — one of them spreads sunscreen on his face. When his companions look askance at him, he replies, “What? Don’t you know how much radiation there is here?”
The bungling travelers then encounter a bored Mossad agent at an outdoor cafe who tells them he’s been in town for two months conducting surveillance.
The agent tells them he’s been killing time watching on-demand episodes of Asfur on the device. “Nuclear reactor or no nuclear reactor, I’m not missing Asfur,” he tells them as he shows them the free Samsung Galaxy tablet he and his wife received when they subscribed to HOT.
One of the comedians reaches toward the tablet and asks, “What’s this application here?” as he presses the screen. A fireball explodes at the nuclear facility behind them. When his companions look at him in shock, he replies, “What? Just another mysterious explosion in Iran.”
Iran has experienced a number of mysterious explosions at military and nuclear facilities in the last year, as well as public assassinations of several nuclear scientists who were killed by agents on motorcycles. Iran was also hit by a cyberattack involving the Stuxnet computer worm, which is believed to have sabotaged centrifuges at Iran’s uranium-enrichment facility near the town of Natanz.
At the end of the ad, which HOT has pulled from its YouTube channel, one of the comedians slaps an insect that’s landed on his neck. “Icks! Khomeini!” he says, using the slang term for a flying beetle that plagues Israel in the summer months.
A translated version of the ad is below, which includes explanations about some of the puns and references in the ad (such as one to popular Israeli-Persian singer Rita).