Father of Fallen Soldier Taken Off Air During Interview

By Yoni Weiss

Family and friends of IDF soldier Staff Sgt. Amit Bonzel at his funeral at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Yerushalayim, on Thursday. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Army Radio found itself in a storm following a Sunday interview during which host Idan Kavaler abruptly terminated an interview with Yitzchak (Itzik) Bonzel, the father of Amit, Hy”d, a paratrooper who fell in Gaza last week.

During the interview, Bonzel aimed to convey a message to the Israeli public, stating, “I’m asking – turn off the television sets, don’t let their venom infiltrate. They’re bringing in analysts from 200 years ago. They know nothing… They sit there and don’t know the [IDF’s] plans.”

Continuing with scathing criticism of the media’s wartime coverage, Bonzel claimed, “They drip venom, inflate the price of captives without paying attention… I haven’t witnessed a single program that started with a tefillah for the welfare of the country… Absolutely nothing. You ask how to proceed? We, the people, will triumph over you, the media.”

At this point, interviewer Kavaler interrupted, saying, “You’re attacking me and my workplace… I can’t handle this anymore.” He also said, “I also don’t watch television because it’s difficult for me… It’s hard to bear the loss, but teams working to relay information from the field under fire… We facilitate these things, but there’s a limit at some point.” He then took the bereaved father off the air.

The severe incident led to an uproar and prompted reactions within the political sphere. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi responded with a post, writing, “Mr. Kavaler ‘can’t handle’ criticism from a bereaved father who sacrificed his dearest for the sake of the people of Israel. Mr. Kavaler, if a simple declaration of ‘the people will conquer the media’ shakes off a fallen IDF soldier’s grief from the waves of Army Radio(!), apparently, the truth is very painful.”

MK Tzvi Sukkot sent a letter to Army Radio demanding “an immediate clarification and proper handling of the matter.” Sukkot emphasized that Kavaler’s conduct “is not fitting for any media outlet, but is even more egregious at the IDF’s radio station.” According to Sofer, “This is behavior that the Israeli public will not tolerate toward those who sacrificed their dearest.”

At his son’s levayah last Thursday, the bereaved father cried out, “If Hamas doesn’t kill us, we’ll kill each other only because of the brainwashing night after night in the media studios. Night after night, they sit on all the channels, while our soldiers sacrifice themselves – and not a single good word for the soldiers and commanders is said. They do everything to divide us and deepen the hatred between secular and religious, right and left.”

“I beg of you,” he continued, “I don’t want Amit’s death to be in vain. If you want to honor him, try to continue his last path – with unconditional love, honoring parents, and respecting others.”

Amit Bonzel, Hy”d, studied at the AMIT Yeshivah High School in Petach Tikva, and from there continued to the Keshet Yehudah pre-military academy in the Golan Heights.

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