103FM anchor says Haredim should hang themselves with tefillin, suspended

Haredi MKs expressed outrage at Zehavi's comments, calling it "incitement to murder."

 Journalist and radio broadcaster, Natan Zahavi. July 05 2010.  (photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)
Journalist and radio broadcaster, Natan Zahavi. July 05 2010.
(photo credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)

The 103FM radio station suspended broadcaster Natan Zehavi on Sunday after Zehavi stated that he would be happy if some religious people would "hang themselves with their tefillin (phylacteries)" during his radio show.

"All these 'Dreks' (garbage), they're quoting verses from the Bible to me. Pray, put on tefillin, light Shabbat candles, take Challah...Go to hell with the modesty, and the challahs, and the candle lighting and the tefillin. I would be happy if some of them would tie the tefillin around their throats and hang themselves with all that they do nothing, but they're public servants," said Zehavi.

103FM decided to suspend Zehavi after the comments, calling them "blunt and insulting."

"Needless to say, these words have no place on the station's broadcasts, and we condemn them in every way," said the radio station. "Freedom of expression also has red lines. The CEO of the radio decided to suspend the broadcaster immediately and keep him away from the microphone until a clarification discussion, after which decisions will be made regarding the continuation [of Zehavi's employment]."

Shas MK Yinon Azulai expressed outrage at the comments, stating that "the left-wing man Natan Zehavi opens his mouth on the air as the latest antisemite against an entire public, and insults the holy tefillin that have protected us for thousands of years. Zehavi's crazy statements pass quietly in almost silence, without any condemnation. I call on the management of Radio 103FM to immediately and permanently suspend this dangerous thug."

 Israeli journalist Natan Zahavi arrives to a court hearing at the municipal Court in Tel Aviv, in a libel case against Israeli journalist Hadas Shteif. July 09, 2018. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90) Israeli journalist Natan Zahavi arrives to a court hearing at the municipal Court in Tel Aviv, in a libel case against Israeli journalist Hadas Shteif. July 09, 2018. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

United Torah Judaism head Yitzhak Goldknopf called the comments an "incitement to murder against Torah-observant Jews.

"There is no place in the State of Israel or anywhere for these blasphemous words. I expect the station management to quickly disavow his serious words and permanently fire him from the station. Freedom of speech is not freedom of discrimination," said Goldknopf.

Zehavi was recently suspended for wishing that Channel 14 would burn down

The latest suspension comes just a few months after Zehavi was suspended for stating that he hoped that Channel 14's studios would burn while its employees were inside. Zehavi later apologized for the comments.