Media monitor calls for broadcaster’s suspension

Israel Radio’s Yaron Enosh slammed soldiers who walked out of event because women were singing.

IBA logo311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
IBA logo311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel’s Media Watch, an organization that monitors the Israeli media, has written to the Israel Broadcasting Authority demanding the suspension of Yaron Enosh, a popular broadcaster and a former chairman of the Jerusalem Journalists Association.
In his weekly Friday afternoon program broadcast on Reshet Bet on September 9, Enosh harshly criticized the behavior of four religiously observant IDF cadets who had walked out of an event at which women were singing.
Actually, nine cadets had left the area, but five were allowed to remain on the course after convincing their superiors that the exodus had been a spontaneous response in keeping with their religious beliefs and had not been some kind of a pre-planned demonstration.
The dismissal, Enosh continued, hit him after his second daughter had been conscripted into the army following a year’s preparatory training.
She had chosen a combat route, and every week she travels to some other Israel border, a factor that causes Enosh considerable loss of sleep, because even at her young age, she is already capable of defending the state.
It was at this point that Enosh made the remarks that offended not only Israel’s Media Watch but also several of his religiously observant listeners.
He noted that even though she could defend the state, she was not allowed to open her mouth in the presence of certain people because the whiteness of her teeth and the trill of her sweet voice might give rise to sinful feelings.
Enosh claimed that there was no biblical prohibition related to the subject. The actual Hebrew expression he used translates as holy sources, which he repeated in a telephone interview.
When told by the reporter to whom he was speaking that there is a Talmudic reference, he dismissed it as commentary.
On air, despite his mellow voice and soothing style of delivery, Enosh gave vent to a strong feminist argument, saying that the four cadets who were dismissed would marry women who would be loyal maidservants, who would accept whatever was said to them and would be silent when their husbands wanted them to be silent, and would cook whatever their husbands wanted them to cook, and would do everything that their husbands wanted them to do.
“But my daughter is not like that and serves with hundreds and thousands of other girls who also think differently,” he said. “She is ready to give her all.”
But if the four dismissed cadets are returned to the course, and senior officers will again be forced to deal with the problem, said Enosh, he will regretfully be the first to discourage his daughter from continuing in the IDF. He was all in favor of equality, he said, but equality in everything “including when she opens her mouth.”
Israel’s Media Watch chairman Prof. Eli Pollak, in the organization’s letter to the IBA stated that in expressing himself in the way that he did, Enosh demonstrated his ignorance and lack of professionalism in that he did not properly research the subject about which he was speaking.
Even a personal program has its limits and should be in good taste, Pollak noted. The manner in which Enosh expressed himself, Pollak added, was insulting not only to the cadets and their wives, but also to all those members of the religious public who conscientiously abide by the prohibition. According to Pollak, Enosh’s remarks were not only offensive but intolerable and could not be overlooked.
When talking to The Jerusalem Post, Enosh readily admitted that he had received several phone calls from religious listeners who had found his comments to be distasteful and offensive and he had invited them to air their views on his program. He does not believe in denying anyone the right of response, he said.
Enosh continued to stand his ground on the absence of any commandment in the Bible that forbids a man to listen to the voice of a woman singing, and made the point that up until ten years ago, the issue was never raised by a member of Bnei Akiva or anyone from any other National Religious movement.
He also had some scathing things to say about Israel’s Media Watch.
“If [Israel’s] Media Watch thinks that rabbis are gods, someone should tell them that there is only one God in Heaven,” he said.
Enosh also referred to those Orthodox rabbis who do not walk out of a room when a woman sings. Instead they close their minds to the sound and take out a holy book and study it, said Enosh.
“If they can do it, there’s no reason why other people can’t.”
A spokesman for the IBA refused to comment on the subject, saying only that “the matter is under investigation.”