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May 11, 2014 11:05 am

Jay Leno on Upcoming Holy Land Trip: I am ‘Very Pro-Jewish, Pro-Israel’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Comedian Jay Leno. Photo: Twitter.

Comedian Jay Leno. Photo: Twitter.

Comedian Jay Leno, who will host the awards ceremony of the $1 million Genesis Prize, in Jerusalem, on May 22, said he considers himself to be “very pro-Jewish, very pro-Israeli.”

In a phone interview with Fox News published at the weekend, Leno, who will be making his first trip to Israel for the event, said, “It’s a great honor. It’s a great country. It’s a great people.”

While anti-Israel activists are urging entertainers to boycott the Jewish state, Leno said he didn’t have “any problem” with his decision to perform in Jerusalem.

“At some point in your life, you have to sort of take sides. I tend to side with the Jewish point of view on many things, especially issues like this one. I realize how important Israel is,” Leno said.

Michael Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg financial media empire and the former mayor of New York, is being honored as the first recipient of the Genesis Prize — what has been dubbed “the Jewish Nobel Prize” — for his years of public service and philanthropy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be among the 400 dignitaries in the audience. Grammy-winning pianist Evgeny Kissin will perform.

Leno said he will run his jokes by the “appropriate people,” but Netanyahu and Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men, can expect to be the butt of a few of his jokes.

“I think everybody around the world appreciates self-deprecating humor, and I think you can do jokes about the prime minister, and Michael Bloomberg getting the award certainly,” Leno said. “They’re giving him $1 million. Wow. That’s going to change his life.”

In the interview, Leno also joked about the recent collapse of Israel-Palestinian Authority peace talks brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry:

“I guess any American that’s not John Kerry is more than welcome there right now,” Leno said.

Leno hosted NBC’s late-night talk show ‘The Tonight Show’ for more than two decades before retiring in February. He was replaced by former ‘Saturday Night Live’ star Jimmy Fallon. Leno said he is still performing his stand-up routine five nights a week, but now travelling globally with his routines. He recently performed in China and will stop in London and Rome during his upcoming trip that includes Israel.

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  • Leno is a crypto Jew and never funny in the slightest.

  • Douglas

    Jay Leno is a funny guy. I like his anti semetic jokes.

  • Miriam Esther

    now that he is wealthy and retired, he has nothing to lose so why not take a stand … after all, they are paying him to come hand out an award to someone with whom it pays to network ….. i think his ‘stand’ is a little too little, a little too late …..

  • zeynep

    What about nominating Jay Leno to be the next Israeli president, dear commentators?? Ohh that would be real ‘fun’, really ‘cool’, wouldn’t it!!?

    What on earth is happening to you people? What are they doing to you over there to debilitate your mental capabilities to such tragic extent that you end up blurting out these foolish, childish comments? Is it something as elemental as the water you drink or the air you breathe that causes you to short-circuit your brains this way? Or are you indeed children, who have been brought up hearing nothing but the nightmarish lullaby ‘Israel is o.k. but america is the best of the best’? And now you just learned how to read and write and you execute loyally your duty as citizen children of your mythical land by regurgitating that utter discordancy whispered into your ears?

  • Lorenzo

    Jay Leno=Mensch!

  • Jay Leno is a “class act” and has a very strong work ethic. Indeed, there will be a lot of laughter at the Genesis Prize award ceremony.

  • BlueShadowII

    I’d love to see Jay become the Bob Hope of our time.

    • Steve Butman

      Very possible…neither one of them is funny at all.

  • Beatrix

    I’m very pro-Leno.

  • Eve

    I am very pro-Leno.

    • Beatrix

      Sorry Eve. I didn’t see your comment until after I posted, but I don’t think we can say enough good things about Jay Leno.

  • Larry Levine

    Jay Leno was the best TV host ever. No one else even comes close.
    Bring him back.

    Also, great applause on his stand on Israel and the Jewish people.

    • Mel

      Like its cousin FOREVER, EVER is a very very long time.

      Some people believe excess Television Poisons the Mind.

      Did you ever watch STEVE-O-RINO, even know who he was?

      Growing up in America’s Armpit has its price.

  • Rosewood11

    Jay Leno Rocks!!!

  • Golum

    Jay…you are now on my
    for the Jewish Holidays!!!