Rabbi Asaf Naumberg
Rabbi Asaf NaumbergKan 11

Channel 13 News reporter Omri Maniv apologized on Sunday for broadcasting a report denouncing Rabbi Asaf Naumberg of the Mechinat Atzmona pre-military academy, and portraying him as attacking the secular public and opposing IDF service.

“I apologize. I watched the classes from the pre-military academy before the story I published, and after today’s publications I took a deep breath (a lot of them). I watched again and realized that the things that were said in the classes were different than how I had portrayed them,” Maniv wrote on Twitter.

"Nothing is more important to me than being precise," he continued. "When my name is attached to an item, it should be ironclad. It's a shame that this has led to schadenfreude from some of the politicians I cover. My apologies."

Maniv’s apology comes after Channel 13 News published alleged quotes from Rabbi Naumberg during a lesson at the mechina, such as "One must not get near the secular", while noting that Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Yamina) headed the academy until a few months ago.

However, on Sunday evening, journalist Hanan Amiur from the Presspectiva website revealed the full recordings of Rabbi Naumberg, from which partial quotations were taken and presented by Channel 13 News in an attempt to discredit the rabbi and the mechina in which his lessons were delivered.

By showing edited portions of his lessons, Rabbi Naumberg was portrayed as an extremist rabbi who advocated for complete separation from secularists and even avoiding service in the IDF.

Rabbi Peretz, who established Mechinat Atzmona, responded, "I do not seek to avenge my honor but am upset over the attempt to tarnish and shed the blood of thousands of religious Zionist students. Tonight, it turned out that Nitzan Horowitz and Evet Liberman, along with Channel 13 News, are distributors of Fake News – they should be ashamed and apologize."

Former Minister Naftali Bennett (Yamina) also commented and said, "One of the most sickening events in the history of Israeli media. Two weeks ago, Channel 13 published a lesson by a rabbi from the Atzomna mechina that says that ‘no one should be drafted into the IDF’, ‘one should not approach the secular.’ There was an uproar in the entire country. Now, it turns out that everything is a lie. It is a role-playing game by the rabbi who is exactly the opposite of what they portrayed him. Shame on you."

The Yamina party called on Channel 13 News to apologize to Rabbi Naumberg and dismiss the journalist who published the story with the distorted quotes. "As we said along the way, the blood of religious Zionism has been permitted. The pre-military academies educate for statehood and state loyalty.”

"The radical leftist campaign has penetrated the newscasts under the guise of exclusive publications - first-rate Fake News. We demand that Channel 13 News apologize at the start of the newscast, just as they published the recordings, and fire the reporter Omri Maniv who shed the blood of Rabbi Naumberg using despicable Fake News.”

“Nitzan [Horowitz], Evet [Liberman] and [Yair] Lapid, we are also waiting for your public apology, you used Fake News throughout your campaign, spreading hate and increasing polarization. We will continue with our truth and thus we shall win," added Yamina.