Israel Yanks Evangelical Hebrew Channel for Application Gaps
For the first time in Israel’s history of broadcast regulation, a television channel providing Christian content has had its license revoked. The move came on Sunday when the Hebrew language channel launched by God TV received word that it’s application was found to be faulty for failing to reveal all of its intentions – in particular that it would, in the opinion of regulators, be serving a goal of proseytizing Jewish Israelis. Officials said they were not made aware by the application that the target market is Jewish Israelis rather than indigenous Christians and visitors. To many, the channel’s aims were never obfuscated and the fact that it was producing content in partnership with Israel’s Messianic community for which missionizing is an imperative qualifies as a “should have known” for the regulators. Nevertheless, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council has made clear its willingness to allow the channel, called “Shelanu” (Of all of us), to resubmit its application while offering advice regarding the corrections or additions that will allow a license to be issued after it is re-submitted. While some argue the key difficulty is a semantic one – whether or not what the channel does is proselytization. In response, God TV CEO Ward Simpson said in a video that the channel’s backers weren’t out to convert Jews, just to get them to “accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah,” a difference lost on the Jewish community. Others seek to imply a political motive given the high level of support Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump receive from a large sector of the Evangelical Christian world. Some self-described Evangelicals have expressed dissapointment with Israelis who accept that support but seek to silence Shelanu.