Yonit Levi is the beloved anchorwoman for Israel's Channel 2. Over the past few days, however, she has become a pariah in the blogosphere for her reactions to the current crisis in Gaza, deemed as sympathetic to Palestinians. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, Levi was often shown on camera raising her eyebrows when mentioning the IDF, and looking sorrowful when discussing Palestine. Her facial expressions resulted in the creation of a petition [HE] to have her removed from the air, which garnered over 35,000 in just a few short days. The organizers of the petition have since stated that they believe their actions helped, as Levi is no longer making such expressions. A counter-petition was also organized in support of Levi.
OneJerusalem.com reacted strongly and swiftly in Levi's favor:
In a post a while ago I discussed Fox News as an example of how low TV News Channels can take the news and the absurd of having to sell yourself as “Fair and Balanced” when that’s the last thing you ever will be. Yonit Levi is ACTUALLY fair and balanced and doesn’t need to sell it. She has been doing this for a long time and has been presenting the news in professional even tone, void of personal views and opinions.
In short, Yonit we love you ! Keep up the great work.
Israeli-Canadian blogger Lisa Goldman discusses the general media reaction from Israel, mentioning Levi's situation:
According to the polls, 90 percent of Israelis support the Gaza campaign. I find that number quite worrying: public debate and a diversity of opinion are, as Ohad notes in this post, essential characteristics of a healthy democracy; and anyone who has expressed even the mildest anti-war sentiment can testify to the intimidating responses that have, I noticed, cowed many people into silence.
The intimidation ranges from verbal violence (”traitor!” “fifth columnist”) to the threat of being fired from one’s job – as in the case of Channel 2 anchor Yonit Levi. One friend even received death threats – via Facebook, if you can believe it. Assuming, though, that all the people polled about the war know that the Israeli media’s reporting has been controlled by the army spokesman’s iron fist; and assuming that everyone polled is both well-informed about what is really going on in Gaza and unafraid to voice an opinion that deviates from what we are constantly told is the mainstream, that still leaves one person out of 10 opposing the war. In this edition, Time Out Tel Aviv gives them a voice. Below are some translated excerpts.
Creative Commons-licensed photo by YuvalH