Gantz denies he got right-wing broadcaster fired

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday vigorously denied he was involved in the firing of popular right-wing broadcaster Yaakov Bardugo.

 Yaakov Bardugo speaks the conference of the Israeli newspaper "Makor Rishon" at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, December 8, 2019 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Yaakov Bardugo speaks the conference of the Israeli newspaper "Makor Rishon" at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, December 8, 2019
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Bardugo, who co-hosted Army Radio’s highly rated 5 p.m. drive-time broadcasts, was dismissed on Thursday. He was a vocal supporter of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who condemned the firing. Bardugo blamed his firing on Gantz, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked.

Gantz dismissed allegations he had used the station to advance himself or his views politically.“I do not and will not touch the scheduling and appointment of broadcasters because I don’t want it connected to politics,” he said at a meeting of his Blue and White faction in the Knesset. “I haven’t been interviewed by the radio station in a year. I didn’t ask for or receive positive coverage.”
Gantz said he was working with Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara on the formal process of appointing a commander for the radio station. Bardugo was fired by interim commander Galit Alstein, who was appointed by the defense minister.
Gantz said his demands of the new commander were to maintain professionalism, follow the ethical guidelines of the IDF and make sure soldiers would not be involved in political broadcasts.
“As IDF chief of staff, I didn’t believe and I still don’t think there is room for a military radio station these days,” he said. “I tried to separate it from the army, but it was complicated. IDF soldiers cannot deal with politics, directly or indirectly.”
 Newly appointed Attorney General Gali Baharav Miara seen during a welcome ceremony for her in Jerusalem on February 8, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Newly appointed Attorney General Gali Baharav Miara seen during a welcome ceremony for her in Jerusalem on February 8, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Army Radio has been heavily criticized for giving a platform to Bardugo, who was accused by critics of spreading lies and propaganda live on air in support of Netanyahu. Right-wing MKs have said they would boycott the station.