A new ad for a parody program on Israel Channel One has rightwing Israelis up in arms. The ad connects the Israeli right in general with Yigal Amir, who is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1995, and with Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Arabs at the Machpelah Cave in 1994.
The ad shows men dressed up as Amir and Goldstein, and a third man portrayed as Yona Avrushmi, who threw a hand grenade into a crowd during 1983 rally, killing 36-year old activist Emil Grunzweig. The three are seen dancing and singing, with lyrics roughly translated as “sometimes I am a hero and sometimes I am a murderer. Sometimes I am an assassin and sometimes I am a slaughterer. But no matter what, I am always a right wing murderer.”
Channel One is the television station of the state-run Israel Broadcasting Authority. Each year, Israelis who own a television set must by law pay a hefty fee to finance public broadcasts; the law allows the IBA to seize property and freeze bank accounts in order to force Israelis to pay their bill.
As a public broadcaster, the IBA must follow a very precise set of rules and regulations to ensure that it provides an outlet for all segments of the population, and to ensure that all points of view are represented. Recently, for example, the IBA refused to air satirical pieces produced by the Latma group, claiming that it would be unfair to show one point of view in satire – that of the right-leaning Latma group – without having a leftwing counterbalance.
In this case, however, there was no balance for the anti-right message of the commercial, and no right-wing program or satire is scheduled to air in the near future to balance the satirical left-wing content the IBA is presenting.
MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) has demanded an explanation of why the IBA is refusing to follow its own rules, but that explanation has not been forthcoming. As a result, Shaked sent a formal complaint to Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, demanding to know why no right-wing balance was presented to balance the leftist content the IBA is broadcasting.