Israel Orders Christian TV Channel to Stop Broadcasting

GOD TV argues application for new Shelanu channel in Hebrew was forthright, decries decision as political.

Israeli regulators on Sunday announced they ordered a US-based evangelical broadcaster taken off the air, saying the channel hid its missionary agenda when it applied for a license.

In his decision, Asher Biton, chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, said he had informed GOD TV on Thursday last week that it had seven days to stop broadcasting its new Shelanu channel.

“The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content,” he wrote. “Its original request,” he said, stated that it was a “station targeting the Christian population.”

The decision was first reported by the Haaretz daily.

In a statement, Shelanu said it was stunned by what it called Biton’s “unprofessional decision.”

It said its existing license “stated unequivocally” that it would broadcast its content in Hebrew to the Israeli public. Most Christians in the Holy Land speak Arabic.

“Therefore it is not at all clear what was wrong beyond political considerations,” it said.

Ron Cantor, Shelanu’s Israeli spokesman, initially said the station would reapply for a license. But in a press release today, noted:

“Last night we learned that HOT Cable company has chosen not to reapply for a license for Shelanu TV, which effectively ends Shelanu TV’s era on the HOT cable network. We, HOT and Shelanu, both knew that in a free and democratic society, we would have received approval for our new license. And if not, we would have won in court. The only thing that could have stopped our channel from being aired was if HOT broke our relationship.”

According to a copy of its original application and approval, obtained by CT, Shelanu identified itself as “a Christian …

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