Channel 2 reporter Yair Sherki, the mainstream channel first reporter to sport peyot (earlocks worn by many religious Jews) – is feeling some remorse about his latest scoop.
It was Sherki who broadcast the wedding tape in which IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rafi Peretz was seen dancing in uniform with controversial rabbi Yitzchak Shapira of Yitzhar. Peretz will be mildly disciplined after leftist MKs expressed outrage at the dance, and at the fact that he exchanged his military beret with Shapira's haredi wide-brimmed hat.
Supposedly, by doing these things, Peretz gave a military stamp of approval to Rabbi Shapira's book, which deals with the Torah's approach to the killing of gentiles in peace and wartime. The book was condemned by groups that claimed it incited violence and racism against Arabs and other minorities in Israel.
"When I saw the tape of IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz dancing with Rabbi Itzik Shapira who wrote the book Torat Hamelekh," Sherki confided Tuesday to his Facebook friends, "I realized that these were unusual images that would provoke discussion or a smile, depends on whom you ask, but in any case I did not see it as a huge item; just an interesting tidbit."
"Someone in the news desk saw the video and found it much more shocking," Sherki wrote, without saying whether that "someone" was an editor or a reporter like him. "'It is inconceivable,' he said, 'that the chief rabbi, a senior officer in uniform, would dance and even exchange a beret with a hat, with the author of a book so that aroused such deep controversy as Torat Hamelekh,'" Sherki's unnamed colleague said.
Sherki explained to the other newsman that the meeting between the two had been a chance event, and that in any case, "a dance is just a dance and I don't necessarily agree with the views of a person I dance with in a dance circle, or hold hands with."
He noted that the song in the background is a Purim theme and could explain the exchanging of hats.
In the end, the two decided to broadcast the tape on Channel 2's relatively laid-back late-night news show.
"Since the publication, a storm has broken out," Sherki observed. "Like any journalist, I am usually happy when there is a follow-up to my story, but in this case, I feel a bit different."
While the item was newsworthy, he opined, and Rabbi Peretz would probably have done better not to dance as he did in uniform, "it seems that the proportions have been lost. I prefer a reality in which people can disagree and even have sharp disputes, but still dance together, over a politically correct reality in which I find myself in a circle only with people like me. The next stage could be just me dancing alone in front of a mirror."