Israel: Legal Petition Could Halt Soldiers’ Broadcasts on Sabbath
Text of report in English by privately-owned Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post website on 27 August
IDF soldiers working for Army Radio will not be allowed to operate the station on Shabbat [weekly day of rest] and Jewish holidays if the High Court of Justice accepts a petition filed Wednesday by the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.
The organization’s lawyer, Yitzhak Bam, charged that soldiers – whether regular, reserve or professional – were in violation of the orders of the Supreme Command by doing so.
Bam wrote that the orders of the Supreme Command prohibit all work by soldiers on Shabbat and Jewish holidays aside from combat and combat support activities or other emergency actions.
“Radio broadcasts in the sense of broadcasts directed at the general public do not belong to the categories that the Supreme Command orders permit on Shabbat,” Bam wrote.
Bam added that the legal status of Israel Army Radio is problematic in general. Military law does not mention it. Reference is made in the Israel Broadcasting Authority Law, but that only applies to the civilian aspects of the broadcasts.
Nevertheless, Bam emphasized that the petition was not against Israel Army Radio itself, nor was he demanding that the station shut down on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. He said there were other ways to see to it that the broadcasts continue – either by taping programmes in advance and other technological methods, or by having civilians operate the station on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
The main thing, he said, was that Israel Army Radio soldiers should stop violating military law.
[Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Radio - Galei Zahal - broadcasts news and music to a mostly-civilian audience.]
Originally published by The Jerusalem Post website, Jerusalem, in English 27 Aug 08.
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