Israeli journalist Oshrat Kotler.
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Channel 13 anchorwoman Oshrat Kotler risks going to trial under section four of the Defamation Law and has been called in for a formal disciplinary hearing with the news station’s executives.
On Saturday night, while anchoring the news, Kotler referred to the IDF soldiers suspected of beating Palestinian detainees as “human animals.”
“When you send your children to the army, they are kids,” Kotler said. “You send them to the territories, and they come back as human animals. This is the result of the occupation.”
Following her statements, more than 2,000 listeners complained to the Office of the Second Authority for Television and Radio. Hundreds took to Twitter and politicians responded harshly.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that he is “proud of the IDF soldiers and loves them very much. Oshrat Kotler’s words deserve every condemnation.”
New Right Party leader and Education Minister Naftali Bennett appealed to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to put the anchorwoman on trial.
“IDF soldiers are sacrificing their lives so that all of us, including Oshrat Kotler, can sleep quietly,” Bennett said.
He said the only “human animals” he knows are terrorists who murder children in their beds, girls who go for walks or entire families traveling on a highway.
“IDF soldiers are our children and our strength,” Bennett said. “Kotler’s words damage the reputation of the heroic IDF soldiers and slander them.”
Kotler made her statements following coverage of the five IDF soldiers who serve in the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion and were arrested for allegedly beating two Palestinians.
Kotler later attempted to clarify her statements by saying that she was specifically referring to these five soldiers and not the entire IDF.
“I want to stress so that you understand: My children, and also their friends, have been combat soldiers,” Kotler explained. “My criticism was directed only at those soldiers who have been driven to harm innocent people due to our control over the Palestinians in the territories.”
She then said that she was not ashamed of her statements and would “continue to express my opinion on the program. You will not succeed in silencing me.”
Parents of soldiers in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion spoke out against Kotler, as well by saying that their sons joined the IDF out of a sense of Zionism.
“They chose a difficult and challenging track and they did not ask for concessions,” the parents said in a statement. “These are the best of Israel’s sons… Kotler sleeps well at night because of them, yet she wants to determine their fate.”
This is not the first time that Kotler made controversial statements on her show.
In 2017, she became well known abroad at the height of the #MeToo era when she revealed to the Israeli public on TV that Israeli media mogul Alex Gilady had made an indecent proposal to her during an interview 25 years ago.
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