Israel's Right-leaning Channel 20 Channel Blasted for Sexualizing Female Lawmaker

'The days when politics was an exclusive club of bullying, cynical men who fight against any change for the better are over,' lawmaker Stav Shaffir writes in response.

On Channel 20’s program 'The Patriots,' broadcaster Erel Segal dresses up as Shaffir in a red wig.
Screenshot/Youtube

Israel's broadcast regulatory body on Wednesday criticized Channel 20 for a sexualized satirical portrayal of MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), saying it will examine whether the station thus violated its franchise terms.

MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union) filed a complaint against the channel, saying the portrayal constituted sexual harassment.

Shaffir wrote a column in Haaretz earlier this week about the connection between happiness and politics, mentioning that bicycle riding makes her happy. On Channel 20’s program “The Patriots,” broadcaster Erel Segal dressed up as Shaffir in a red wig and said, “I also want to ride a bicycle without a seat.” His co-host, attorney Ari Shamai, said, “If Stav Shaffir enjoys riding a bicycle so much, what does MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin enjoy doing?”

The Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting said, “Portraying a woman as Channel 20 did has no place in public discourse.”

Shaffir wrote on her Facebook page, “A bunch of middle aged men sit around cracking up with laughter, while [Segal] makes jokes that I like cycling – because it gives me sexual pleasure. The Segals and their like may refuse to understand this, but the days when politics was an exclusive club of bullying, cynical men who fight against any change for the better are over. We’re here, the world is changing, and the despicable attempts to humiliate us only demonstrate how outdated they are.”

Chanel 20 said in response that Segal had been talking about himself, not about her.

“It’s sad to find that MK Shaffir didn’t take three minutes to watch the show before shooting poisonous arrows that have nothing to do with reality,” it said.

The council now awaits the channel’s response.