Israeli journalist suspended for defending a Palestinian who planned to attack only soldiers in Jaffa

The following article was published in Haaretz (Hebrew edition, 12 September 2022) under the headline: “Journalist Israel Frey was suspended from the Democrat TV channel due to praising the terrorist caught in Jaffa”

By Ido David Cohen(Translated by Sol Salbe)

Ultra-orthodox journalist Israel Frey was suspended from the broadcasts of the internet media body Democrat TV following a tweet in which he praised terrorist Muhammad Minawi, who planned to carry out an attack and was arrested in Jaffa last Thursday.

In a tweet that he published yesterday afternoon, Frey wrote: “Look what a hero he is. He made it all the way from Nablus to Tel Aviv, and even though all the Israelis around him somehow take part in oppressing, crushing and killing his own people — he still looked for legitimate targets and avoided harming the innocent. In a properly constituted world, he would have received a medal.” Frey was referring to a news report by Kan 11 reporter Itay Blumenthal, according to which the terrorist, who was in Israel illegally, asserted during his interrogation that he lingered in the area because he was “looking for soldiers”. He was captured by two Yasam [police special patrol] fighters while carrying a Carlo type submachine gun and two tubes full of explosives.

Democrat TV, and the management of the Darkenu movement that operates it, announced this afternoon on Facebook that Frey has been suspended for an unspecified period of time following what they called “an extreme and inappropriate statement he posted on Twitter”, and announced that he will be summoned for questioning in the coming days.

“The Derkenu movement and the Democrat TV channel represent the values ​​of the moderate majority and are supported, among other things, by regular monthly donations from thousands of Israelis. Frey’s statement has nothing to do with the values ​​of the movement, it was said based on his personal opinion only and we disavow it completely. Just as we would not accept statements Those who support Transfer [ethnic cleansing] or hanging a picture of Baruch Goldstein, so we refuse to accept statements like Frey’s. This is not our way, we will continue to promote the moderate discourse while resolutely preserving democracy,” the channel wrote.

Shai Glick, CEO of the right-wing organisation Betzalmo, welcomed the suspension and appealed to the police and to Israeli equivalent to Director of Public Prosecutions to open a criminal investigation against Frey: “The suspension of a person is a very extreme step, but in the face of support and expression of sympathy for the murder of soldiers and people, there is no choice,” he said. The Israel Police stated that a complaint had been received by the police and the issue “has been forwarded to the examination of the relevant authorities”.

In the message disavowing Frey, the channel referred to another incident yesterday in which they accuse Frey of violence and offensive behaviour: “The channel’s management also regrets that female friends and team members had to deal with inappropriate behaviour yesterday on the part of Frey, which was witnessed by many in the channel’s broadcast studios. We are committed to biting professional journalism, but above all we are committed to a work environment free of violence and offensive behaviour.” The channel refuses to provide more details about the described case, and no response was given from Frey either.

It should be noted that as of now, Frey continues to stand behind his tweet and has not deleted it. In a tweet later yesterday, Frye wrote: “Since the beginning of the year, 81 Palestinians have been killed as part of our illegal and immoral control of the [Occupied] Territories, and for every day that we work and have a good time — while simultaneously actively oppressing [the Palestinians] — you say thank you nicely.” In addition, he retweeted several tweets of support for his words.

Frey, one of the leading presenters of the Democrat TV project, joined it in October 2020, a few months after its establishment in May of that year, having previously worked in a number of ultra-Orthodox media outlets. He is also noted as the one who reported violations of closures in the ultra-orthodox community at the height of the corona epidemic. He also wrote opinion pieces for Haaretz.

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