Educational TV editors and investigators "prostrated themselves" before Ahmed Tibi after a 1995 suicide bombing, said Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, who spoke at Likud headquarters on Sunday.
Akunis deviated from the conference's topic - governance in Israel - to discuss Israeli media political bias. He told the audience of an event that was engraved in his memory from the days when he was employed at educational television.
"I'd be happy to come for another discussion on the Israeli media - its 'fairness', its 'pluralism', its 'democracy' - that really, if someone thinks out of bounds, he's considered a true outcast.
"I'm telling you from personal knowledge. In newsrooms - and I grew up in newsrooms - both in Maariv and in Yediot Ahronot, even before I decided to turn to politics. Those who challenge the most basic conceptions of the Left and the extreme Left within the editorial offices of the newspaper are outcasts," he said.
"I worked for a short time on educational television, for a half-a-year on a current affairs program called New Evening. I remember all the investigators after the Beit Lid attack, interviewing Ahmed Tibi and prostrating before him. And when Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu went up on screen and spoke on the program, he got scorn from those editors and news investigators. Listen, it was a picture engraved in my memory and I said to myself - I won't let this thing happen. But unfortunately, it still happens from time to time."
Arutz Sheva searched New Evening's archives for the program mentioned by the Minister. In a program broadcast on the day of the attack in Beit Lid and in one broadcast the next day, Netanyahu and Tibi did not appear. However, in a program broadcast on the day of the attack on Tel Aviv's bus Line 5 on October 19, 1994, both appeared, and it is possible that Akunis's memory faltered after more than two decades, and that he meant this program. Minister Akunis later confirmed that he may have indeed intended coverage of the Line 5 bus bombing.
The credits list of editors and program producers appears in captions at the clip's end. Netanyahu, appearing as then-Opposition Leader begins speaking at 16:00 minutes, and Tibi appears at the 29:14 mark. The difference in the interviewer's tone, attitude, and difficulty level between Netanyahu and Tibi are discernable:
In the Line 5 attack 22 people were killed including children, and 104 were injured. This was one of the first suicide bombings in the Oslo Accords era, the worst attack as of that day.
The governance event where Akunis spoke took place at Metzudat Ze'ev in Tel Aviv at the initiative of Attorney Lior Katsav and Attorney Suzi Ozsinai-Arneia. Among participants were MK Oren Hazan and Attorney Sassi Gaz.