'Arab Radio Incites Terror'

MK Ben-Ari cites encouragement of Gaza-bound flotillas in request to shut down A-Shams radio station.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 12:53

Ben-Ari (right) in Knesset
Ben-Ari (right) in Knesset
Israel news photo: Flash 90

One of Israel's Arab-language radio stations is broadcasting incitement to terrorism and should be shut down, MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said Monday. He submitted an urgent request to the Second Broadcasting Authority, asking that the A-Shams station be closed.

Ben-Ari's request centered on an interview conducted with Samar Al-Haj, an organizer of a Lebanese flotilla that hopes to reach Gaza in violation of Israel's naval blockade. Al-Haj has ties to Hizbullah, and admits that inspiration for the flotilla came in part from Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah.

"Instead of asking Samar tough questions, [A-Shams announcer Zohir] Bahloul chose to use his broadcast to support terrorism, and among other things, called Al-Haj 'Sister Samar' and told her she is 'a great woman,'” Ben-Ari said.

"Moreover, during the interview Bahloul told Samar, regarding her plan to set out on a terror flotilla against IDF soldiers and the state of Israel, 'May Allah protect you... May Allah give you success,'” Ben-Ari added.

Bahloul's statements violate the Second Broadcasting Authority regulations, according to MK Ben-Ari. The authority guidelines call for “broadcasts in the Arab language to meet the needs of the Arabic-speaking public and to promote understanding and peace with neighboring states.... to broadcast reliable and balanced information.”

"We cannot have a situation where a broadcaster working with authorization from the Broadcasting Authority uses his program to encourage terrorists to come to Israel and confront IDF soldiers,” Ben-Ari said. Bahloul's statements demonstrate a lack of professional ethics, he charged.

Ben-Ari has taken an active stance on fighting incitement, support for terrorism by Arab leaders, and police inaction since entering Knesset last year. He has called in the past to shut down the Haaretz newspaper for using stolen secret IDF files in a report, to go after radical leftists who incite violence in Jerusalem, to prevent convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti from giving media interviews, and more.