An Israeli TV reporter has been sacked after declaring – live on air – that he regretted a missile attack had not killed more Arabs.
Kobi Finkler – a specialist military commentator – was reporting for Israel’s Channel 20 on last week’s conflict between Israel and Hamas that resulted in the deaths of 230 Palestinians and 11 Israelis.
Channel 20 reportedly has a bias towards the right-wing government of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The network has previously faced heavy fines for its reporting and breaching its broadcast license.
Military commentator Kobi Finkler went on national television to express his disappointment that a rocket fired from Lebanon into Israel did not cause mass Palestinian casualties.https://t.co/CjpfUgq8D9
— +972 Magazine (@972mag) May 20, 2021
Last Wednesday, Finkler was reporting on an Israeli rocket attack on the northern city of Shfaram.
In footage since removed from the internet, Finkler told viewers: “One [rocket] has fallen on a soccer field in a large Arab community. Regretfully for us, it did not result in mass deaths there.”
The reporter’s comments were immediately met with a firestorm of complaints; however, Channel 20 management initially stood by the comments, releasing a statement that inferred Finkler was merely “mistaken in his language and did not mean, God forbid, the serious things that were said”.
But as the fallout from the comments worsened, Channel 20 bosses revealed that Finkler had, in fact, been sacked.
Management announced it had “decided to immediately sever its its connection with Mister Finkler and summon those involved in the broadcast to clarify matters and draw conclusions.
“The management of Channel 20 takes the harsh words of the military commentator Kobi Finkler very seriously and completely rejects them,” it said in a statement.
Not that Finkler was backing down. When contacted by the media website The Seventh Eye, he accused residents of Shfaram of supporting the rocket attack.
He later softened his tone, blaming his comments on the “emotional turmoil” caused by reporting on the conflict. He also apologised if his comments had been misinterpreted. “That is certainly not my opinion and not the opinion of the channel,” Finkler later retracted.
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