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
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 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.
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.
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.
one more round of chants.
“We’ll be back,” she promised.
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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