Army Radio protest 311.
(photo credit: courtesy)
The Knesset Economics Committee will on Monday prepare for a second and third
(final) reading of the Army Radio bill.
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The bill concerns allowing the
radio station to continue its activities for another year and broadcast messages
from sponsors, and has become controversial in recent weeks as NGO My Israel has
actively protested the station for “aiding the enemy in a time of
On Thursday, Army Radio and My Israel filed complaints with the
police against each other.
My Israel claimed that Army Radio “aided the
enemy in a time of war” and compared the station to Syrian President Bashar
Assad for “turning its back on a massive public protest against its lack of
“While hundreds of combat soldiers and officers on reserve duty
spread a petition against Army Radio and Israeli artists complain of being
boycotted by the station, Army Radio continues to have the support of those who
were interviewed again and again during wars – terrorists and Arabs that oppose
the state’s existence,” the organization said in a statement.
organization’s police complaint came after Army Radio accused My Israel of
“illegal incitement and impersonation.”
Last Tuesday, My Israel called
journalists and politicians from a Palestinian phone number, playing a recording
of Hamas spokesman Ribhi Rantisi saying he supports Army Radio and freedom of
The IDF station said that My Israel illegally impersonated Army
Radio workers, called Rantisi, and asked him to speak about the station and the
freedom of speech it gives him.
The following day, My Israel sent an
almost identical message from Fatah official Ashraf Ajermi, who served almost 12
years in Israeli prison.
“Army Radio does not wish to confront an
organization that seeks only to harm it using demagogical means that may border
on the criminal,” an Army Radio spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.
far as cheap tricks, including recruiting Palestinians to defend Army Radio, our
approach is to request that the police investigate those who stand behind this
initiative, on suspicion of incitement and impersonation – both of which are
My Israel, on the other hand, posted on its blog that
the goal of its protest is to allow right-wing voices to be heard on Army
“Almost all of Army Radio’s broadcasters are clearly leftwing,”
the organization explained, saying that the only right-wing personality at the
radio station is on at 11 a.m., “hardly prime-time.”
“We want to break
the monopoly and let a variety of opinions be expressed. Our goal is for there
to be balance,” My Israel’s blog reads.
“We want half of the broadcasters
to have a different opinion.”
The Army Radio spokeswoman said the station
covers the news in a balanced and objective way, “reflecting reality as it is,”
adding that Rantisi only filled 0.0001 percent of the station’s broadcasting
time in 2010.
“Any attempt to present [Rantisi] as a popular interview
subject borders on slander...
and is not based on facts,” she
“The state-funded media in a democratic country must reflect a
variety of opinions – not necessarily to strengthen or agree with them,” the
spokeswoman told the Post.
“A policy of ‘burying our head in the sand’
does not serve anyone’s interest and is not democratic.”
reservists gathered outside Army Radio headquarters on Sunday night to protest
the radio station, saying that the government’s money would be better spent on
other parts of the IDF.
The demonstrators held sings that said “Money for
Golani and not Army Radio” and “Give Army Radio back to the combat
One protester, Yair Eliash, said: “As a soldier, I never
listened to Army Radio. The station’s attitude towards soldiers is somewhere
between neutral, like the UN, and anti-Israel, like the enemy." Event organizers
said that 250 reservists took part in the protest.