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      IDF Combat Soldiers to Demonstrate Against IDF Radio

      Demo is part of grassroots group campaign against Galei Tzahal, the military radio station that coddles Hamas spokesmen.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 6/26/2011, 3:15 PM / Last Update: 6/26/2011, 3:19 PM

      A grassroots Zionist group, Yisrael Sheli (Israel Online Ambassadors) held a demonstration outside the studios of Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio), the Israel Defense Force’s official radio station, also Israel's second-most-listened-to station.

      The demonstrators called on the radio station to stop being what they see as a radical-leftist propaganda machine, and to allow a variety of political views to be heard, as reflects the Israeli electorate.

      The group also produced a short animated segment of IDF radio excerpts vividly illustrating its point:


      The demonstration’s slogan is “Give IDF Radio back to the fighting soldiers.” 
       
      Yisrael Sheli’s campaign coincided with a Knesset Finance Committee vote on whether or not to extend the radio station’s right to broadcast sponsored announcements. 
       
      The group contended that IDF Radio -- Galei Tzahal in Hebrew -- has become an undemocratic and unpluralistic body, which gives prime time exposure only to radical left-wing views while herding its few centrist broadcasters to a single program between 11p.m. and 12 a.m.. This, despite the fact that most Israeli citizens, IDF soldiers included, are not radical leftists.
       
      The activists have collected recordings and quotes from the station’s broadcasts that they say prove it provides succor to the enemy during wartime and demoralizes Israeli listeners – especially the combat soldiers, for whose sakes the station supposedly exists. Similar monitoring of IDF Radio has been carried out by the Tadmit center and by the Latma website.
       
      Terrorist promotes IDF Radio
      The protest was preceded last week by a PR move in which My Israel (Yisrael Sheli) activists phoned Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Ribchi Rantisi, who has been a regular guest on IDF Radio for years -- including during Operation Cast Lead. Posing as IDF Radio staff, they asked Rantisi to provide them with a recorded testimonial calling upon Knesset members to vote in favor of the IDF Radio’s financing, because of its pluralism. Rantisi gladly cooperated and praised IDF Radio as the station where he “feels at home.”
       
      Yisrael Sheli used Rantisi’s number to send the recording directly to the cellphones of numerous politicians and journalists, most of whom believed at first that the terrorist spokesman had really been recorded by the IDF Radio. Israel’s television picked up the story. 
       
      Yisrael Sheli pulled off a similar stunt with a Fatah spokesman, and got him to record a testimonial for IDF Radio as well.
       
      IDF Radio’s Yael Dan once attempted to lure bereaved parents Eli Avraham and Miki Goldwasser, whose sons were abducted and murdered by Hizbullah, into an on-the-air conversation with Rantisi. They refused to cooperate. She bade them farewell on the air and began talking to Rantisi on her own. This and other recordings are available in YouTube videos made by Yisrael Sheli.
       
      IDF Radio files complaint
      IDF Radio did not see the humor in Yisrael Sheli's PR moves nor did it seem to do much soul-searching after the IDF’s worst enemies lavished it with compliments. Instead, the radio station filed a complaint with the police against Yisrael Sheli, accusing it of incitement. 
       
      Yisrael Sheli said it would also be filing a complaint against IDF Radio, on suspicion of assisting the enemy during wartime.
       
      IDF Radio is staffed by IDF soldiers of both genders and by civilian broadcasters whose salaries are paid by the IDF.