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National Religious Party MK Zevulun Orlev submitted a bill on Tuesday that would require Channel 2 to enable religious Israelis to watch the hit political satire program Eretz Nehederet (Wonderful Country).
The program currently runs on Friday nights when religious people do not watch television due to Shabbat. Reruns of each show are broadcast on Saturday nights - eight days after they were originally shown - when they are no longer topical.
Orlev's bill would require broadcasting authorities to rerun within a week popular programs that were shown on Shabbat, especially programs that are at the center of public discourse.
"More than 20 percent of Israeli citizens are prevented from watching the show and are disconnected from the public discourse because of their religious faith," Orlev said. "The broadcasting authorities should take steps to include all the sectors of Israeli society in the cultural realm and the public discourse."
Orlev's NRP colleague, former MK Shaul Yahalom, submitted such a bill in the last Knesset, which led Channel 2 to start broadcasting reruns of the show on Wednesdays. However, it stopped doing that shortly thereafter.
Israel Beiteinu also protested against Eretz Nehederet on Monday, sending Channel 2 a letter objecting to a skit that compared party leader Avigdor Lieberman to Adolf Hitler. MK Yitzhak Aharonovitch said a scene in which a citizen said "Hi Lieberman" was in "poor taste" and had crossed a red line.
A spokesperson for Keshet, a company that operates much of Channel 2, including Eretz Nehederet, said the scene was "within the bounds of legitimate satire."
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