Roni Daniel, one of Israel’s best-known journalists, died on Monday at age 73. His death was confirmed by sources at Channel 12 television news, where he was a reporter and commentator on military affairs.
He joined Channel 12 precursor, the Israeli News Company, in 1993, and also presented the news at Army Radio. Daniel was among the first hosts of Israeli Educational Television’s long-running current affairs program “Tik Tikshoret.”
"Roni was more than just a military commentator," said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett following the news of Daniel's passing. "He was the voice of another time, of the good Land of Israel, of love of the country and protecting its security, of the kibbutz and the city all at once. I send my condolences and embrace his family. May his memory be a blessing."
Daniel was born in Baghdad. At the age of 3, he immigrated to Israel with his mother. He was drafted to the Nahal Brigade for his conscripted service, and remained as an officer. During the Six-Day War, he was wounded while fighting on the Egyptian front, but quickly returned to the fray. He was a commander in the War of Attrition, and then continued as commander of a reserve battalion in the Golani Brigade.
Daniel began his journalism career at the Voice of Israel in 1971, where he started as a transportation and agriculture reporter, but quickly was named military affairs correspondent. While working for Army Radio during the Yom Kippur War, he was the first military reporter to ascend Mt. Hermon with Golani Brigade troops.
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More than once he put himself in danger while reporting in the line of fire during military conflicts. He refused to leave the studio during Operation Cast Lead – the 2008-09 Gaza war – he refused to leave the studio despite rocket fire, among other instances.
As a commentator, Daniel was known for his militancy, more than once calling on the army to undertake ground operations in Gaza. His views often drew criticism. When colleagues would request a less uncompromising analysis from him, he would not shy from critiquing them during broadcasts.