2 men charged over far-right assault on journalists in Tel Aviv

Indictment says 2 public broadcaster reporters were attacked after man loudly called them left-wing antisemites; separately, Channel 12 journalists said to get security details

Reporters for the Kan public broadcaster are beaten in the Tikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, May 13 , 2021 (Screen grab/Twitter)
Reporters for the Kan public broadcaster are beaten in the Tikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv, May 13 , 2021 (Screen grab/Twitter)

Prosecutors filed charges at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday against two far-right rioters who assaulted journalists in southern Tel Aviv last week.

The suspects were named in the indictment as Yosef Peretz and Yosef Maatuf.

Among the charges filed against the two are assaulting a public servant, as the cameramen and reporter they attacked work for the Kan public broadcaster.

Camera operator Rolan Novitzky required hospital treatment for injuries sustained in the May 13 assault. Reporter Yoav Zehavi was also beaten.

The attack, which was captured on film, took place in the Hatikvah neighborhood of Tel Aviv, where the two were reporting on a planned march by far-right activists who were on their way to attack Arab residents of nearby Jaffa.

According to the indictment, Peretz spotted the team filming and started yelling to passersby: “Guys, these are the antisemitic Channel 13 reporters.” When Novitsky clarified that they worked for Kan, Peretz said they are “also antisemites, you are left-wingers.”

Peretz then allegedly called Maatuf and told him to come to the location, whereupon they attacked the two journalists.

“The fact that this is a deliberate assault, in which the defendants chose public broadcaster staff as a target for a violent attack without any provocation on their part while [the reporters] were doing their jobs, indicates how dangerous [the defendants are],” prosecutor Rotem Neumann Wasserman said in a statement

The attack occurred as tensions between Israel’s Jewish and Arab communities spiraled into mob violence in multiple ethnically mixed communities, with police failing to contain the most serious internal unrest to grip the country in years against a backdrop of the fighting between Israel and the Gaza terror groups.

The attack on the Kan crew was one of a number in recent days in which journalists, both Arab and Jewish, have been assaulted or threatened in Israel. According to the Union of Journalists in Israel, at least 20 reporters and photographers have been assaulted and wounded since May 6.

Additionally, the Ynet news site reported Monday that a number of reporters and anchors at Channel 12 news have been given security details due to threats related to their perceived left-wing bias.

In response, the Journalists’ Union issued a statement calling for reporters to be protected and for an end to incitement against them.

“We demand that the police keep journalists safe and deal harshly with the violence,” said union chair Yair Tarchitsky. “To the public figures and politicians leading the incitement: We demand that it must be stopped immediately, before there is bloodshed.”

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