TV Anchors Fight Each Other over War

Evening news pundit mocks defense correspondent, another calls Israel a "peace refuser."

Gil Ronen ,

Daniel (right) and Nir
Daniel (right) and Nir
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The fighting in Gaza has spilled over into Channel 2, Israel's most widely viewed television news channel.

At the epicenter of the fighting is Ronny Daniel, the channel's veteran defense correspondent. Unlike most of the channel's journalists, Daniel is an old-style pro-security Zionist who identifies with the military, thus earning the admiration of many like-minded Israelis, and the scorn of leftists nationwide, including the ones who work shoulder to shoulder with him on Channel 2.

Things came to a head Monday when Channel 2 News's top political pundit, Amnon Abramovich, mocked Daniel at the start of the evening newscast. "The general attitude of the nation is 'let the IDF win'," Abramovich said disparagingly, "or in the language of media people, 'let Ronny Daniel win'."

Daniel was not in the studio at the time and could not respond.

A day earlier, another anchor, Arad Nir, voiced amazement at the fact that European countries continue to assist Israel, despite the fact that it is "a peace-refusing country." Nir repeated his conviction despite being challenged over it by a politician who was in the studio.

On Sunday, anchor Yonit Levi virulently attacked the government representative who was explaining the success of Israel's social media efforts in this war, and he simply shut off her contact with his office and left her next question hanging in the air.

Daniel also had a run-in with MK Ahmed Tibi (Raam-Taal), who has been invited to the studio twice on prime time since the Gaza campaign began. Tibi is a former aide to Yasser Arafat. His party was disqualified by the Central Elections Committee from running for the Knesset in 2009 but the disqualification was overturned by the High Court under then-President Dorit Beinisch.

Among Tibi's exploits is a speech extolling the virtues of martyrs that he delivered in Ramallah on the "Palestinian Martyrs Day” sponsored by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Tibi accused Daniel of "inciting the IDF to harm civilians" in Gaza by calling on the IDF to step up its attacks. Daniel responded by accusing Tibi of behaving in a terroristic manner inside the studio. The heated exchange (in Hebrew) can be viewed below.