Channel 2 evening news anchor Yonit Levy's body language appeared to disclose her contempt for Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett in an abrasive interview Sunday night.
Levi appeared to be leaning as far away from Bennett as possible, even as she grilled him over statements about rampant crime and anti-Jewish violence in the Arab sector that she found “racist.” The interview is embedded below.
Israel has three television news channels: Channel 1 public television, and the commercial channels 2 and 10, which are government supervised to a certain degree. While Channel 1 is also left-leaning, channels 2 and 10 are ferociously anti-Netanyahu and anti-Bennett.
A petition circulated during the 2008-9 Cast Lead Operation in Gaza called Levy “anti-Zionist” and accused her of expressing empathy with the enemy. The petition had reached 34,000 signatures in less than two weeks.
Levy also reportedly faced severe criticism from within the ranks of Channel 2's News Corporation. According to Maariv, her critics accused her of weakening national morale by conducting empathetic interviews with Gazan Arabs and asking them about the civilian casualties there. This criticism, combined with the web petition, reportedly caused Levy to react emotionally and led to a teary-eyed incident after the evening newscast on January 6, 2009.
Angry viewers also filed complaints with Channel 2's ombudsman. “I watched the 8 o'clock news presented by Miss Yonit Levy,” one of them wrote, “and at the end of the newscast she said the following sentence: 'It's hard to convince the world that the war is justified when we have one person dead and the Palestinian nation has 350 dead.'”