Man arrested for attacking, threatening reporters at site of Jerusalem terror attack

Police chief Kobi Shabtai says he expects further arrests in the coming days after mob threatened Channel 13 crew: ‘We must bring sanity back to the country’

Channel 13 reporters and film crew heckled as they report from the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, January 28, 2023. (Twitter/used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Channel 13 reporters and film crew heckled as they report from the scene of a terror attack in Jerusalem, January 28, 2023. (Twitter/used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A man was arrested on Sunday on charges of attacking and threatening a news crew while it was broadcasting from the site of a deadly terror attack in Jerusalem over the weekend.

Police said that the suspect — a Jerusalem resident in his 30s — threatened and “behaved wildly” toward the journalists from the Channel 13 news station on Saturday evening, a day after the attack.

Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of threats and assault, and was taken for questioning.

“We call on the public to refrain from displays of thuggery and violence of all types, either toward journalists doing their jobs on the ground or toward any other person,” police said in a statement.

In a video of the incident, an angry crowd could be seen shouting at the journalists and shaking the metal fence surrounding them, shouting, “Leftists, go home.”

While only one suspect has been arrested so far, several were captured on video on Saturday threatening reporters and staffers, kicking over chairs and attempting to topple lighting equipment.

Also Sunday, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told the two Channel 13 reporters who were targeted that he condemned the incident and any violence toward journalists.

“We view this incident seriously and are determined to handle it,” Shabtai told Channel 13’s Udi Segal and Alon Ben-David, according to the network. “A line was crossed here. Protesting is allowed — but without violence.”

Shabtai said that “we must bring sanity back to the country.” The police chief said he expects more people to be arrested over the incident in the coming days. “We will not allow harm to the media’s ability to do its job.”

The Channel 13 news crew had been broadcasting from the site of a terror shooting that killed seven people and wounded three others in the capital’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood on Friday night.

One man approached the news crew and shouted, “We don’t want you here. Do you want chaos?” A section of fencing fell on Segal, who appeared uninjured.

Channel 13 released a statement labeling the incident as an “attack” and “unacceptable.”

“We are greatly pained that such a complex and painful broadcast ended in this way,” the network said, adding that the crew had seen members of the crowd acting aggressively toward reporters from other news outlets as well.

Channel 12 said some of its reporters were interrupted during a broadcast by chants from the crowd including, “Put handcuffs on police officers” and “Death to terrorists.”

The Union of Journalists in Israel said in a statement, “Incitement and attempts to harm the press were on display in Jerusalem tonight. This time, fortunately, it ended without anyone being injured, but things could easily end up differently next time.”

Channels 12 and 13, along with the Kan public broadcaster, are Israel’s leading television news networks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political allies have often attacked the media as leftists, and Netanyahu has claimed the press has played a part in pushing for his prosecution in his corruption trial.

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