Activists demonstrate at IBA on behalf of radio host

Neubach, who was a presenter on Channel 1 before being removed for not being “photogenic” enough, is again under fire.

July 31, 2012 01:57
2 minute read.
IBA STAFF pose for the camera – with their cameras

IBA news staff 311. (photo credit: (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Social justice activists congregated outside the headquarters of the Israel Broadcasting Authority in Jerusalem on Monday, in support of Keren Neubach, a host on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet.

Neubach, who was a presenter on Channel 1 before being removed for not being “photogenic” enough, is again under fire. This time, the Israel Radio director has decided to add a co-anchor to her popular Seder Yom (Agenda) show. The “balancing presenter” is none other than controversial former reality TV star Menachem Ben, who has in the past suggested homosexuality should be criminalized and that AIDS does not exist.

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Several reports in the Hebrew press have said the addition of Ben to the show is aimed at convincing the left-wing Neubach to quit her position, without having to fire her.

The demonstration in support of Neubach was timed with the start of the radio host’s show following the 8 a.m. news bulletin. Some 25 slogan-bearing protesters in their 20s and 30s formed a circle at the building’s entrance, led by Rona Orvara and Nadav Aharoni, who armed with megaphones, encouraged two-line chants.

One of the more frequently repeated was: “Keren, Keren, al tivchi, Bibi gam dafak oti.”

(Keren, Keren don’t cry. Bibi [Netanyahu] screwed me too).

Most barbs were aimed at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, responsible for the implementation of the Broadcasting Authority Law.

Some referred to the influence of “tycoons” on the administration, others contained a word play based on the Hebrew word iton (newspaper) with protesters shouting they don’t want a “Bibiton.” They accused Netanyahu of attempting to quell freedom of expression and criticism of the government on public broadcasting.

Neither IBA security personnel or policemen interfered with the protesters.

When Orvara led the group into the compound, stopping before the building entrance, security set up a barrier by the doorway, but at no time attempted to stop anyone.

Several employees came out onto the balcony, while passersby approached the metal gate and the fence to take in the entertainment.

Orvara urged those employees watching to join the protest, though none took her up on the offer.

As the demonstration ended, Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria (Yerushalmim) said it was imperative to support Neubach as one of the few journalists interested in issues such as early childhood education and discrimination against women.

Eventually protest spokesman Martin Villar – Azaria’s former aide – was asked by police to vacate.

Orvara prompted one more round of chants.

“We’ll be back,” she promised.

The group left the IBA compound via the front gate, but did not disband. Their next stop, Villar told them, was the Prime Minister’s Office.

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