Israeli actress fired from TV show after refusing COVID tests

Orna Fitousi, who played a police officer on the Kan series ‘Manayek,’ has been an outspoken critic of the government’s vaccine campaign

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Israeli actress Orna Fitousi, during the filming of a movie in 2013. (Moshe Shai/ FLASH90)
Israeli actress Orna Fitousi, during the filming of a movie in 2013. (Moshe Shai/ FLASH90)

Actress Orna Fitousi was fired from the Kan TV show “Manayek,” after she refused to undergo COVID-19 tests before arriving on set for filming.

The public broadcaster declined to comment on the situation.

Yoav Gross Productions, which is producing the show, told The Times of Israel in a statement that the series was simply following the current government regulations.

“We operate according to the rules, and whoever is unwilling to get tested before arriving for filming cannot take part in filming and endanger everyone else on set,” the company said.

The actress, who plays Police Chief Superintendent Etty in the police thriller, has long been outspoken in her criticism of the government’s approach to the coronavirus. A week ago, she shared a post on Instagram of someone falsely claiming that six people they knew had died after receiving the third vaccine shot in Israel, and calling on others not to get the booster.

In April, Fitousi wrote and then apologized for a post comparing the vaccine to Nazi Germany, accusing the government of trying to kill Jewish children and sharing a cartoon comparing Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to Adolf Hitler.

Last week, the 53-year-old said she was ripping up her organ donation card in protest of the “abuse of the Health Ministry” against vaccine refusers. “A country that denies my basic rights over my body is a country that is not entitled to receive anything from me — neither in my life nor after my death,” she wrote.

“Manayek,” which began airing on the Kan public broadcaster last year, is a police thriller that centers on an investigation into a dirty cop who is allegedly tangled up with a crime family. The show picked up multiple prizes at the Israeli Television Academy Awards last year, including best drama.

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