Sportscaster penalized for making on-air Anat Kamm tribute
Yoram Arbel refer to Kamm as 'a girl who did something really stupid, and she's been under house arrest since then. She loves soccer, and we'll try to dedicate part of this broadcast to her.'
Sports announcer Yoram Arbel is being suspended for two days for dedicating Saturday night's televised Israel-Latvia soccer game to Anat Kamm, who pleaded guilty last month to delivering classified military documents to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau, Channel 10 announced yesterday.
Arbel did not cite Kamm by name, referring to her instead as "a girl who did something really stupid, and she's been under house arrest since then. She loves soccer, and we'll try to dedicate part of this broadcast to her."
Arbel, who could not be reached for comment, is expected to be back on air tomorrow.
The comment sparked angry responses, though the sports announcer expressed remorse on air a few minutes after he made the initial comment, saying: "If my comments made it sound like I support what she did, I apologize."
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) demanded yesterday that Channel 10 suspend Arbel for longer than 48 hours.
Channel 10 defended its decision and distanced itself from Kamm.
"Yoram Arbel made a mistake and corrected himself immediately," the television station said in a statement. "As Arbel himself noted, we do not identify in any way with Anat Kamm's actions."
Kamm, who was serving in the Israel Defense Forces when she collected copies of the confidential documents, pleaded guilty in February and is under house arrest while awaiting sentencing.
Retaining secret information and sharing it without authorization are offenses punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Under the plea deal, the charge of deliberately seeking to undermine state security, which is punishable by a life sentence, was stricken.