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Israeli TV channel forced to pay compensation for excluding Reform Jews

TJI Pick
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Published: 13 January 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

The channel was found to have violated its broadcasting licence and ordered to pay compensation to non-Orthodox movements.

A right-wing Israeli television channel often likened to Fox News was ordered by a judge on Monday to pay compensation to the Conservative and Reform movements for routinely excluding their representatives from its Jewish-themed programs.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered Channel 14 to pay the non-Orthodox movements in Israel 132,480 shekels ($A55000) in compensation, excluding interest and legal costs, for discriminating against them and violating the terms of its broadcasting licence.

In his ruling, Judge Elad Leng said that the channel – widely regarded as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – was guilty of the “highest level” of discrimination. Not only did it discriminate against representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements by refusing to provide them with airtime, he wrote, but it also discriminated against audiences in Israel and abroad who identify with these progressive forms of Judaism.

“It can be said that this discriminatory practice was not undertaken by accident, but rather, quite deliberately, based on ideological motives, or regretfully, on a grossly inaccurate interpretation of the broadcast licence mandate provided to the defendants,” Leng wrote in the ruling.

The Reform and Conservative movements sued the station in 2018 for repeatedly denying requests by their representatives to have their voices heard on Jewish-themed programs it broadcasts. In the four years since the station was launched, the movements charged in their suit, only once had a representative of theirs – in this case, a rabbi affiliated with the

Conservative movement – been invited to participate in a Channel 14 program. All other requests to be included in its programming had either been rejected or ignored.

Israel’s ‘Fox News’ Found Guilty of Excluding Reform, Conservative Jews (Haaretz)

Photo: The staff of Israeli news station Channel 14 (Screenshot from Channel 14)

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