“For anarchists, freedom of expression ends when they encounter the press that doesn’t agree with their propaganda. A shame and disgrace,” responded Transportation Minister Miri Regev.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A live broadcast of Israel’s Channel 20 News program The Patriots was disrupted on Tuesday night by left-wing protesters in Tel Aviv’s Habima Square.
Panelists Idit Silman and Yariv Oppenheimer were reporting live from Habima when dozens of protesters suddenly gathered around them, waving flags to block the camera. Shouting, they used megaphones and noisemakers to drown out the broadcasters’ voices.
Channel 20 News is widely considered to be right-wing and pro-Netanyahu, which is likely the reason its presence drew ire from the protesters. The Patriots is a show similar to Fox News’ The Five and gives voice to right-wing positions.
Oppenheimer, however, is a left-wing activist and former director of Peace Now. He was participating in the debate.
In violation of social distancing guidelines, the protesters stood just inches away from the panelists and each other. A Channel 20 staffer on the ground attempting to move the protesters away from the panelists was shoved by the crowd.
Eventually, police officers held hands and created a human barrier around the panelists to protect them from the protesters. No one was injured in the incident.
Late Tuesday evening, Transportation Minister Miri Regev slammed the protesters on Twitter.
“I strongly condemn the attack on Channel 20 News presenters tonight in Tel Aviv,” she wrote.
“For anarchists, freedom of expression ends when they encounter the press that doesn’t agree with their propaganda. A shame and disgrace.”
MK Osnat Mark (Likud) called out the protesters for hypocrisy on Twitter, writing “Freedom of the press and expression are not the lifeblood of democracy?”
“Why does the Order of the Knights of Democracy always fiercely defend it only when it serves them? And for that we sacrifice human lives every day?”
A source who watched the live broadcast told World Israel News, “Unbelievable. In the middle of the broadcast, suddenly, dozens of ‘protesting’ thugs attack the panelists and do not let the show continue.”
“Obscene movements, shouting, hooliganism. They simply shut down the voices of those with opinions different from their own. This is what democracy looks like!”