Israeli radio host suspended after saying religious Jews should ‘hang themselves with tefillin’

“I would be happy if some of them would tie the tefillin around their throats and hang themselves.”

By World Israel News Staff

An Israeli radio show host was suspended on Sunday after saying on his broadcast that he would glad if some observant Israeli Jews would “hang themselves with their tefillin (phylacteries).”

“All these pieces of garbage, they’re quoting verses from the Bible to me. Pray, put on tefillin, light Shabbat candles, take Challah,” 103FM’s Natan Zehavi said, referencing the Jewish law of setting aside a piece of dough prior to baking bread.

“Go to hell with the modesty, the challahs, and the candle lighting and the tefillin. I would be happy if some of them would tie the tefillin around their throats and hang themselves with all that they do nothing, but they’re public servants,” Zehavi went on.

103FM said it was suspending Zehavi over the comments, which it called “blunt and insulting.”

“These words have no place on the station’s broadcasts, and we condemn them in every way,” the radio station said. “Freedom of expression also has red lines.”

The radio station’s director said Zehavi’s suspension was effective immediately, and that his future at the station was not clear.

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Shas MK Yinon Azulai slammed Zehavi over the comments, calling him a “left-wing antisemite who is against an entire portion of the public,” and denounced the radio host for “insulting the holy tefillin that have protected us for thousands of years.”

Azulai called on Radio 103FM to permanently terminate its employment of Zehavi, who he said was a “dangerous thug.”

United Torah Judaism head Yitzhak Goldknopf called the comments an “incitement to murder against Torah-observant Jews.”

“There is no place in the State of Israel or anywhere for these blasphemous words. I expect the station management to quickly disavow his serious words and permanently fire him from the station. Freedom of speech is not freedom of discrimination,” said Goldknopf.

Only a few months earlier, Zehavi was suspended for saying he wished that the studios of Channel 14, a rightwing network, would burn down while its employees were inside.

Zehavi later issued an apology over the comments.