A U.S.-based evangelical broadcaster will be pulled from Israeli airwaves, Israeli regulators announced.
Asher Biton, chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, told GOD TV last week that it had seven days to stop the broadcast of the Shelanu channel.
“The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content,” he wrote. “Its original request,” he said, stated that it was a “station targeting the Christian population.”
Shelanu’s satellite provider, HOT, has also dropped the channel.
Ron Cantor, Shelanu’s Israeli spokesman, said their license in Israel “state unequivocally” that the station would broadcast its content in Hebrew. Most Christians in Israel speak Arabic.
In its original application, Shelanu describes itself as a “Christian religion channel broadcasting Christian content … for the audience of Israeli viewers ... [in] Hebrew and English.”
In Biton’s initial approval of the station, he said that “the channel is intended for the Israeli viewing audience.”
Avi Mizachi, a Shelanu board member, said it was “absurd” that the channel was being pulled off the air.
“It is absurd that anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist content is broadcast freely every day on cable television in Israel, and a pro-Israel Zionist channel like ours is under investigation,” he said. “We should be free to broadcast content of our community as well.”
Cantor added: “Maybe there was some confusion in his understanding of Shelanu. But to say that we tricked him into broadcasting content that is not allowed under our license is simply not true.
“If we really lied to get a license, of course we would have been caught. It does not make sense. It goes against everything we teach.”
Cantor said Biton may have been pressured to pull the channel after facing “relentless pressure” from Jewish anti-missionary groups, such as Yad L’Achim.
Shelanu’s broadcast will be moving online.
“As Israelis who love our country and know the laws, we will not be silenced,” said Cantor. “We will continue, in a spirit of love, despite being persecuted by our own government, to be a voice against BDS and seek support from evangelicals all over the world for Israel.
“We will stand with Israel, even if our government does not stand with us.”
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Glenn Carstens Peters
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.