Lapid blasts 'disgusting, repulsive' research

Channel 14 report asserts being left-wing increased likelihood of being killed on Oct. 7

Outrage as pro-Netanyahu network asks if right-wing towns’ security teams were more effective at saving residents while examining ‘research’ on ‘Does political stance save lives?’

Screen capture from video of a chart broadcast by Channel 14 alleging a tie between voting patterns and victimhood during the Hamas attack on Israel, May 29, 2024. (Channel 13)
Screen capture from video of a chart broadcast by Channel 14 alleging a tie between voting patterns and victimhood during the Hamas attack on Israel, May 29, 2024. (Channel 13)

Channel 14 provoked outrage on Wednesday when it aired a segment that examined the alleged relationship between political outlook and victims of the devastating October 7 attack, including a chart that indicated left-wingers were ten times more likely to be killed or abducted.

Hosts Shimon Riklin and Erel Segal presented the segment on the right-wing, pro-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu channel, under the caption: “Does political stance save lives?”

They interviewed researcher Liad Levi about his examination of the devastating onslaught led by Hamas, in which some 1,200 people were killed and 252 seized as hostages, in relation to how the victims voted.

Levi said he examined the voting patterns of 40 communities situated within 10 kilometers of Gaza and found a ratio of two left-leaning communities (defined by 70% or more of the votes going to left-wing parties) for every right-wing one. He didn’t specify which parties were categorized as left wing.

Based on those figures, Levi drew up a chart of the number of killed or kidnapped on October 7, concluding that one in 35 residents of communities that voted “left” were killed or abducted, compared to only one in 335 residents of communities that voted “right.” The figures, he said, showed there were ten times as many left-wing victims as right-wing ones.

“The question of the research was, Did one’s political outlook in the Envelope [i.e., the Gaza border towns] save you, or cause you damage, or give you an advantage in the October 7 attack,” said Riklin.

“The mass of those killed… sits in what seems to be communities that voted left,” responded Levi.

The distance of the various communities from the Gaza border had no effect on this, he claimed.

Screen capture from video of Liad Levi, May 29, 2024. (Channel 14)

Levi also said that in right-leaning communities where only a few people were killed, those deaths came while fighting the terrorists, asserting that “the numbers also pointed to the ‘quality of the death,’ how terrible the deaths were.”

Later in the same segment, those in the studio discussed if political leanings may have affected the effectiveness of the security squads in the communities that were attacked, or influenced the “understanding of the enemy” in the communities.

The Hostages and Families forum said in a response it was “expressing shock at the report tonight on Channel 14. This is a manipulative, divisive, false, and blood-letting report.”

“The attempt to present the citizens of Israel who were massacred, murdered, and kidnapped in the October disaster as based on political affiliation is a wrongful act that harms the foundation of our national resilience, the families of the murdered and the fallen, and national solidarity vis-à-vis the hostages,” the forum said in a statement.

Screen capture from video of Channel 14 hosts Shimon Riklin, left and Erel Segal, May 29, 2024. (Channel 14)

Condemnation from opposition lawmakers at the Knesset was led by Opposition Leader MK Yair Lapid, who wrote on social platform X that “I have seen disgusting and repulsive polls in my life, but this takes the record.”

Labor party leader Yair Golan called Channel 14 the “propaganda channel” of Netanyahu and wrote, “There is no limit or shame to the poison machine.”

MK Yulia Malinovsky of the hawkish Yisrael Beytenu party wrote on X that “to separate the hostages and those killed into left and right is the very bottom of the sewer that Channel 14 has reached.”

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid leads Yesh Atid faction meeting at the Knesset on April 15, 2024. (Chaim Goldbergl/Flash90)

Reporter Nadav Eyal noted on X that “geography, the Hamas plan, the IDF’s response, and a thousand other parameters are critical” factors in the outcome of the terror attack. He said it should be obvious that the research is “poor, cheap, bad.”

Following the criticism, Segal defended the item, writing on X “it is not a poll or research by Channel 14. We interviewed Dr. Liad Levi, a physicist, who did research and found clear statistical data that demands review in order to learn for next time. The future.”

“Anyone who watched or will watch the item will see… that it was taken out of context,” he wrote.

View of the destruction caused by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023, in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, November 2, 2023. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

On the morning of October 7, Hamas led some 3,000 terrorists who burst through the border with Gaza and rampaged through southern Israel. They overran communities in the border area as local security teams made up of residents fought back despite being massively outnumbered. Many security squad members were killed in the fighting.

Channel 14’s fervent backing for Netanyahu and his government has led some to term the station’s content “propaganda.”

The conservative network, owned by Israeli-Russian billionaire Yitzhak Mirilashvili and sometimes likened to the US’s Fox News, has been embroiled in previous controversies.

In August 2023, an anchor drew fire for showing sympathy toward Yigal Amir, the jailed assassin of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. A month earlier, a panelist on the network called for Amir’s release from prison.

Channel 14 was founded as Channel 20 in 2014, winning a government tender to establish a “Jewish Heritage Channel.” It was barred from airing any news broadcasts and was fined multiple times for repeatedly breaking that rule. In 2016 it was granted the right to air 90 minutes a day of news but continued to violate its bylaws by regularly exceeding the limit.

Most Popular
read more: