Israeli Radio Host Reined in After On-air Jokes About Palestinians

Avshalom Kor won't have to apologize for gags following explosion at a Palestinian ambassador’s residence this month.

A popular Israeli radio host is being required to stick to his usual theme, the Hebrew language, after making disparaging remarks about Palestinians on the air last week.

The host, Army Radio’s Avshalom Kor, was commenting on the booby-trap explosive that went off accidently at the residence of the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Prague this month.

Kor said the envelopes the Palestinians used to send mail were “letter bombs,” and that the stamps bore the image “of a sniper shooting and hitting his man.” According to Kor, “When they say ‘that girl’s a bomb,’ they’re not talking about a blonde bombshell.”

Later on, Kor spoke about Israel’s release of long-serving Palestinian prisoners.

“I saw the receptions they held for the child murderers who were released from prison,” he said. “It reminds me of the story about the guy who was taken prisoner by cannibals. The head of the tribe welcomed him face to face — then ears, arms and legs. After all, when they get down to business with us, they really get down — as far as the grave.”

Kor will not be asked to apologize, but Army Radio’s commander, Yaron Dekel, said the segment would be solely devoted to the Hebrew language and linguistics.

Dekel received several complaints about Kor’s comments. “This program, which I understood was supposed to enlighten listeners about the hidden gems of the Hebrew language, has in recent years turned into a platform for Dr. Avshalom Kor’s ideological manifesto,” read a complaint by Prof. Avihu Klar of Hebrew University’s Department of Medical Neurobiology.

“These statements, which are of the most racist and backward sort, have no place in the media, particularly not on Army Radio,” Klar added. “Imagine similar statements about Jews. The Jews were also compared to animals — weasels and rats, though, not respectable ones like snakes and donkeys. The only thing lacking is the statement that [the Palestinians] use the blood of Jewish children to bake pita bread.”

Army Radio ombudsman, Eran Elyakim, also responded to Klar’s letter. “From time to time, Dr. Kor mentions current events on his program, taking words and expressions from them and explaining them on the air. Following the program at issue, the station’s management met with Dr. Kor and told him to focus solely on matters having to do with the Hebrew language.”

AP