Broadcast calling for delay of judicial reforms censored by the Second Authority

The Second authority deemed events shown in the clip, including PM Rabin's murder, too 'controversial' and did not allow it to be broadcast.

 Israelis protest against the government’s proposed judicial reforms in Tel Aviv on February 4.  (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)
Israelis protest against the government’s proposed judicial reforms in Tel Aviv on February 4.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

The Second Authority for Television and Radio told the Jewish People's Policy Institute (JPPI) that their video broadcast calling for unity and consensus among the Israeli people will not be aired because it "presents controversial events."

The Second Authority, which regulates and supervises commercial broadcasts, informed the JPPI that it will not allow their broadcast to go on air even after the institute agreed to the corrections that the authority ordered.

After the institute acceded to the Second Authority's requests and made corrections to the broadcast, the authority again took a step back and refused even the corrections it itself requested and disqualified the broadcast.

Controversial subject matter

Among the things that the authority claimed in the disqualification: "The events shown on the broadcast are controversial."

"We regret that in days of tension and danger of civil war, the Second Authority does not allow non-political voices calling for reconciliation and dialogue to be heard," the Institute said in a statement.

 A petition by the Jewish People Policy Institute calling on Israelis to support compromise on the government's planned judicial reforms (credit: JEWISH PEOPLE POLICY INSTITUTE) A petition by the Jewish People Policy Institute calling on Israelis to support compromise on the government's planned judicial reforms (credit: JEWISH PEOPLE POLICY INSTITUTE)

The Second Authority explained their reasoning in a statement to The Seventh Eye, an investigative website critiquing Israeli media.

"The script includes, among other things, the sentence 'It's either war - or brothers'," said the statement. "Presenting things in this way, as if approving the changes in the judicial system will lead to war, while negotiations will prevent it - is politically controversial and is at the heart of the political public debate these days.

"According to the publication rules for the Authority's public broadcasts, nothing that is subject to political controversy will be published, therefore the current version of the broadcast is not approved. As soon as a different wording in line with the rules is brought before us - we will publish it," the statement concluded.

In recent days, the JPPI Institute launched a major campaign calling for Israel's leaders to reach a compromise on the government's planned judicial reform in order to prevent Israel from sliding into a civil war.

The nixed broadcast is a short clip, first showing pictures of the Altalena incident in 1948, the murder of Prime Minister Rabin in 1995 and the evacuation of Gush Katif in 2005 and ending with the message "February 2023. We did not start a civil war."

The broadcast finally calls to sign their petition which is part of the JPPI's campaign under the slogan "No to coercion and violence, yes to dialogue."

The campaign will also include billboards across the country, newspaper ads and commercials, with quotes from politicians who support the compromise.

The JPPI's data showed that there is a real concern in Israel for an outbreak of violence and civil war over the reform, but that a window had also opened for politicians and other public figures to come together and begin a process to converge towards a compromise.  

Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.