Opposition party leaders criticized on Monday remarks by panelists on Channel 14 on Sunday afternoon implying that the outcome of the attack at the Egyptian border on Saturday had to do with the fact that one of the soldiers manning the post was a woman.
The bodies of two of the soldiers, Sgt. Lia Ben-Nun and St.-Sgt. Uri Itzhak Ilouz, were found lifeless on Saturday morning after an Egyptian police officer cut through an emergency door on the border fence and attacked the position they were manning. The third, St.-Sgt. Ohad Dahan, was killed in a firefight with the assailant soon after.
The exchange on Sunday was between Channel 14 Military Correspondent Hallel Biton-Rozen and anchor of the 4 p.m. show, Boaz Golan. They discussed the efficacy of 12-hour long shifts, which Ben-Nun and Ilouz had reportedly been carrying out until they were killed.
Biton-Rozen then raised another issue.
“This too needs to be put on the table. A male and female soldier, alone for 12 hours, at night,” he said.
“In a shack, one meter by one meter, or some other size,” Golan responded.
Biton-Rozen – “In advance, there is poor taste here, if you already chose to put a mixed [gender] battalion there… ”
Golan – “There is no poor taste here, there is lack of professionalism, there is disparagement of military values, there are crazy left-wing agendas and we are simply afraid to say so.”
Biton-Rozen – “I am not afraid.”
Golan – “There is harm to our soldiers here.”
Biton-Rozen – “It is a lack of responsibility. Where did it come from? Where was it conceived? And say there were two men or two women, alone for 12 hours!?”
Approximately 2,000 complaints on the remarks were filed to the Second Authority for Television and Radio, which regulates and supervises commercial broadcasts. The authority opened a violation of contract procedure, and, after receiving Channels 14’s response, can apply sanctions that can reach tens of thousands of shekels.
On Sunday evening, dozens of people protested outside of Channel 14 owner Yitzhak Mirilashvili’s home in Herzliya Pituach, and outside of the channel’s studios in Modi’in.
Biton-Rozen said on Monday in his defense that he had not hinted at improper behavior between the two soldiers but rather was criticizing the long shifts.
In addition, the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) newspaper Hamodia did not mention the fact that a woman had been killed in the attack, and chose instead to show pictures of both men who were killed, alongside a picture of the Egyptian border fence.
"This is a group that sees women and soldiers as those who serve them, not our country. That is why we will not give up until we win the fight for democracy and our country."Merav Michaeli
Israeli opposition party leaders lash out at Channel 14
LABOR CHAIRWOMAN MK Merav Michaeli responded to both platforms ahead of her party’s weekly party meeting.
They were “combat soldiers: a woman and two men, who received a conscription order and accepted the national and Zionist mission – to serve the state, to choose combat roles, to risk their lives, – and to our heartache, they paid with their lives keeping us safe,” Michaeli said.
“This is what I see, with such great sorrow in this event,” she lamented.
“But what do you see on the coalition’s media channels? Channel 14 sees sex, sees intimate contact between men and women, sees a lack of modesty. They see a young man and woman alone at night on guard duty, heaven forbid, and all they can think about is sex. Not responsibility, not service, not courage, not comradeship. Just sex,” the Labor leader said.
“That’s Channel 14. In the ultra-Orthodox media, they think so much about sex that they don’t even show Sgt. Lia Ben-Nun. She’s erased. Instead of a picture of her, they show a picture of a fence, or a candle,” Michaeli said.
“Lia was good enough to pay with her life to protect them, to ensure they can sleep well at night– but God forbid they should pay her last respects and show her picture like those of the other two soldiers. Lia was good enough to serve in a place where their ultra-Orthodox peers are exempt from service; exempt from the defense of the state; exempt from playing their part.
“In a place where the editors and reporters and owners of the ultra-Orthodox media websites sleep soundly at night, their sons and daughters are not exposed to this mortal danger,” she charged.
“The coalition’s disgusting poison machine is not ashamed to insult [the soldiers] and their memory. Shame on the media and shame on the country,” she said.
“This, friends, is the heart of our democratic struggle. Discrimination, objectification, and the erasure of women is not a minor part of the struggle against the regime coup, but an essential part at its heart,” she claimed.
“As far as [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s people are concerned, women are good only to be a womb, on their terms, certainly not to be combat soldiers, members of the Knesset, leaders, or just women in their own right,” Michaeli said.
“This is a group that sees women and soldiers as those who serve them, not our country. That is why we will not give up until we win the fight for democracy and our country.”
Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman also criticized the coverage.
“The attempt to erase the picture of a woman in the haredi media, and the presentation and hints on Channel 14 about the events, are completely unreasonable,” he said. “I would expect the heads of Shas [and] United Torah Judaism – and Netanyahu, for whom Channel 14 has become a personal channel – to demand a clear and public apology. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear this from any of them.”