Ayoob Kara
Ayoob KaraHezki Baruch

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday instructed Minister of Communications Ayoob Kara (Likud) to advance the closure of the Al-Jazeera network in Israel.

Netanyahu had pledged last week to work to remove the Qatari network from Israel due to incitement.

"The Al-Jazeera network does not cease to incite to violence around the Temple Mount. I have appealed to law enforcement agencies several times to close the Al-Jazeera office in Jerusalem. If this is not done due to legal interpretation, I will work to enact the necessary laws to remove Al-Jazeera from Israel," he declared.

Kara said on Sunday night he plans to hold professional discussions with members of the legal department of the Ministry of Communications and representatives of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council and the Second Authority, with the goal of shutting down Al-Jazeera's broadcasts in Israel through legislation.

"Other countries that have dealt with the inciting and offensive content of the network have taken action against it," he noted.

"We identify with the moderates in the Arab world who are fighting terrorism and religious extremism. In Israel, too, there is no room for a channel that backs terror, just as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, and others who expelled the inciting channel did. We must join forces and cooperate in the war against channels that preach terror," added Kara.

Al-Jazeera rejected Netanyahu's calls to shut it down, condemning what it called "arbitrary accusations and hostile statements."

It added it would "take all necessary legal measures in case they act on their threat," saying its coverage was professional and objective.

Al-Jazeera has come under fire over its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has accused Al-Jazeera in general, and its Egypt affiliate, Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, in particular, of doing Qatar's bidding by serving as Islamists' mouthpiece at a time of a ferocious crackdown on their ranks.

The station denies any bias, saying it is simply covering Islamist protests.