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June 19, 2015 12:10 pm

Jay Leno Jabs ‘ObamaDon’tCare’ Israel Policy During Genesis Prize Opener in Jerusalem (VIDEO)

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Comedian Jay Leno. Photo: Twitter.

Comedian Jay Leno hosted the “Genesis Prize” award ceremony in Israel on Thursday. Photo: Twitter.

Famed comedian Jay Leno took a stab at U.S. President Barack Obama’s strained relations with Israel on Thursday during his opening number as emcee at the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, in which actor Michael Douglas was presented with this year’s $2 million award.

“Don’t confuse Obamacare with his Israel policy, which is called ObamaDon’tCare,” Leno told the audience, according to Variety magazine.

Joking about Israel’s political system, he said, “Israel is the purest democracy in the world, because in Israel it seems like every voter has their own political party.” The former late night talk show host also said he considers himself “Israel’s Shabbas goy” and asked the crowd, “Maybe you can do something for me on Christmas?”

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who presented Douglas with the award at the ceremony, had words of praise for both the actor and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones.

“To borrow a phrase from one of your father’s movies, you two cast a giant shadow over your profession and set a standard for all actors to follow,” said the prime minister, referencing the 1966 film Cast a Giant Shadow starring Michael’s father Kirk Douglas.

Douglas was presented the second annual Genesis Prize by the Genesis Philanthropy Group for his efforts to promote Jewish heritage and his contributions to Jewish culture. A gift from an anonymous donor doubled the regular $1 million award to $2 million this year. Douglas will donate the prize money to organizations that cultivate Jewish inclusion, Variety reported.

While Douglas’ father is Jewish, his mother is not. He told the crowd on Thursday night that he considered it an “honor” to be Jewish. He said it was a trip to Israel last year for his son Dylan’s bar mitzvah that brought Judaism back into his life, and encouraged him to explore and embrace the religion.

“Inclusiveness and tolerance are Jewish values, too,” Douglas said as he accepted his award. “I strongly believe that Judaism should reflect the spirit of welcome and tradition that existed in Abraham’s tent.”

He added, “My Jewish teachers were my father and my son; happy is the man who can say that!”

Watch an Israeli TV interview with Jay Leno below:



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