×

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Call for Boycott of Israel’s Keshet Has Little Effect

A call by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to boycott Israel’s Keshet has had seemingly little effect, with the TV network continuing to dominate the ratings.

Netanyahu had lashed out at the HBO miniseries “Our Boys” on Friday, describing it as anti-Semitic and calling on Israeli TV viewers to boycott “the propaganda network Keshet,” which co-produced the show. Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that the show, about the killings of three Jewish teenagers and a Palestinian youth in 2014, “gives Israel a false bad name,” which is the same thing the network does to him “every day.”

Keshet has declined to respond publicly to the prime minister’s boycott call. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the network continued to stay atop the ratings, with its primetime Saturday newscast receiving an 18% share compared to rival network Reshet’s 10.5%. That was an increase from last Saturday night, when Keshet’s newscast received a 14.6% share. Its evening reality-TV programming was also the most watched in its time slot.

Netanyahu’s boycott call came on the heels of his longstanding battle against Keshet’s news division for airing leaks of corruption investigations into him. A request from his Likud Party to the Central Elections Committee to prevent Keshet from airing such information ahead of Israel’s Sept. 17 election was rejected Friday. Netanyahu and his party have repeatedly personally targeted Keshet’s legal reporter, Guy Peleg, who is reportedly now being protected by bodyguards.

Netanyahu accused “Our Boys,” which began airing Aug. 12, of devoting minimal attention to the terrorist murder of three Jewish teenagers in the summer of 2014 and focusing mostly on the revenge killing of a Palestinian teen by Jewish extremists. During a Saturday night Facebook live event, Netanyahu doubled down on his attack on “Our Boys,” Keshet and its news network, saying: “Thousands of you called [to complain about] this terrible propaganda show.” He accused Peleg of being “a puppet” of Keshet executives.

The network received backing from many of the country’s media outlets over the weekend. A column on the front page of the widely read daily Yediot Aharonot declared Sunday: “The free press is under attack.” On Friday evening, Yaron Dekel, an anchor on the KAN News public broadcaster, said live on TV that the network was “expressing our solidarity with our colleagues at Keshet 12. Boycotting a TV network is an improper step in our eyes.”

And despite Netanyahu’s call, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin – who is also from the prime minister’s Likud Party – is scheduled to be the opening speaker at the Keshet 12 News conference on Thursday morning. Speaking at another event Sunday morning, Rivlin decried the recent Israeli campaign rhetoric: “When passions are raised and the discourse coarsens, I implore you: Don’t believe the incitement and personal attacks,” Rivlin said. “Don’t listen to the voices that are eager to radicalize the discourse, on the right or the left.”

More TV

  • Blood Oath

    MBC Studios to Launch Arabic TV Series 'Blood Oath,' Written by Britain's Tony Jordan

    MBC Studios, the Saudi-owned production unit of top Middle Eastern free-to-air satellite network MBC Group is set to launch “Blood Oath,” an Arabic crime series written by Britain’s Tony Jordan (“EastEnders,” “Life on Mars”). The announcement comes as Dubai-based MBC Studios, set up in 2018 and headed by former president of NBCUniversal International Peter Smith, is [...]

  • Tony Hall BBC Director General

    BBC Director-General Tony Hall to Step Down

    Tony Hall will step down as the Director-General this summer. “Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our Director-General for the last seven years,” the Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, said in a statement. “Tony has [...]

  • Beartown - Björnstad

    HBO’s 'Beartown' Among 50 Nordic Sneak Peeks at Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision

    For the first time ever, a record number of 13 talent scouts -including U.S. reps from Wiip, CAA, Gersh- will set foot at Göteborg’s sold-out Nordic TV Drama Vision (Jan.29-30), where around 50 series in progress and in development will play to 420 industry delegates. “This is the first time ever we have such a [...]

  • BBC ITV BritBox Streaming

    BritBox U.K. Taps Will Harrison as Managing Director

    Streamer BritBox has appointed Will Harrison as managing director for the U.K. Harrison comes to the service from media investment group Ingenious Media, where he was managing director. An industry veteran, he has had previous stints at Warner Bros., HBO, Disney, A+E Television and Turner Broadcasting. His duties will include profit and loss responsibility, staff [...]

  • "La casa de papel" "Money Heist"

    U.S., Mexico Are Top Destinations for Spanish TV Dramas

    Having conquered the global SVOD market with large hits such as “La casa de papel” (“Money Heist”) and “Elite,” Spanish dramas continued gaining ground in 2019. The international presence of Spanish fiction was driven by period dramas and thrillers, as its most demanded TV genres. By territories, Mexico and the U.S. were the top destinies [...]

  • Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent

    Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent Kew Media Group's Stake In Business

    Two Rivers Media has bought out parent group Kew Media Group’s minority stake in the business. Formed by former STV Productions head Alan Clements in January 2019, the production outfit behind Channel 5’s recent “Susan Hill’s Ghost Story” launched with the backing of Kew, Noble Grossart Investments and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund. Noble Grossart [...]

  • The New York Times Building NYC

    The New York Times' Made-for-TV Endorsement Missed the Mark (Column)

    At some point during the New York Times’s special endorsement episode of its branded series “The Weekly,” the paper’s editorial board muses on the manner in which Donald Trump has changed how we envision what a potential president could look like. After the brief and energetic snippet we’re shown of a visit from candidate Andrew [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content