Israel is disconnecting a new TV channel from GOD for failing to reveal its evangelical missionary agenda, local regulators announced Sunday.
The Hebrew-speaking "Shelanu" channel, which began airing in late April on GOD TV as part of a seven-year deal, will stop broadcasting this week, according to an announcement by Asher Biton, president of Israel and Cable and Satellite Broadcasting. . Advice.
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"The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content," he wrote. "His original request," he added, was a "station directed at the Christian population."
Shelanu, part of one of the world's largest Christian broadcast networks, with a presence in at least 200 countries, said he was "disappointed" by the council's "unprofessional decision" and plans to reapply for a license.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that it is "very rare" for the council to remove a channel, noting that Christian channels Daystar and Middle East Television are already on the air. This is the first time that a Christian channel has been closed in Israel.
Ron Cantor, a spokesman for Shelanu in Israel, said the existing license "unequivocally stated" that it would transmit its Hebrew content to the Israeli public. He said station management hopes the council will approve the request "and thus avoid a serious diplomatic incident with hundreds of millions of pro-Israel evangelical Christians around the world."
Proselytizing is not against Israeli law, provided it is not directed at minors and does not imply economic coercion.
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GOD TV announced in April that it "made history" as the first "messianic television channel … broadcasting the Gospel through Israel in the Hebrew language," adding: "We want every person in Israel to know, not a foreign Messiah, but a Jew! His name is Yeshua and he has not forgotten his people. "
In early May, Israeli Communications Minister David Ansalem threatened to eliminate Shelanu "immediately", calling him a "supervision" problem. Days later, Ward Simpson, GOD TV President and CEO, announced that they were working to resolve the issue.
"We at GOD TV choose to bless Israel," Simpson said in a video statement.
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The controversy could become part of a broader diplomatic problem as evangelical Christians are some of Israel's most vocal supporters against anti-Semitism, BDS, and other anti-Israel sentiments worldwide.
Associated Press contributed to this report.