Photo Credit: Yossi Zeliger/ Flash90
Army radio reporter Hadas Shtaif, May 6, 2013.

Hadas Shtaif, Army radio’s police correspondent, was pulled out of Wednesday’s coverage of the Jerusalem bombings after tweeting: “We started the morning with two terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. Explosives seem to be coming back into the scene in addition to knives, stones, and shooting. Escalation. The forecast? Chain attacks. The presumed internal security minister, regarding your announcement this morning? The police officers and Border Guard fighters who will be harmed will be on you…”

And she added a white-on-black text meme saying: “Itamar Ben Gvir has informed the Likud that he intends to continue ascending to the Temple Mount even after being appointed minister of internal security.”

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Earlier, Shtaif cited anonymous police sources who blame Ben Gvir for Arab terrorism: “Police sources also said that currently due to the negotiations and the reports coming out of the negotiations regarding one or another personality who is about to assume the management of one or another position in the government, there is a very, very serious tension in the area and it is impossible to separate between these factors.”

The nasty tweets came under a torrent of angry responses, including one by Avichai Cohen, a Jerusalem resident who noted: “It should be noted that you are a criminal who received immunity, who hacked into a person’s phone without a warrant. In a normal country, you’d be in prison, in the country of [expletive involving hygiene] you are broadcasting on Army radio, a despicable journalist and despicable human being.”

In his January 2019 decision not to prosecute then President of the Lawyers’ Guild Efi Nave on an indictment that resulted from Shtaif’s reporting, deputy state attorney Shlomo Lemberger wrote that Shtaif hacked Nave’s cell phone illegally, allegedly violating the law. Nave sued Army radio and Shtaif for NIS 141,000 ($41,000) for defamation and the case went to arbitration.

Steiff reported in April 2019 that several women complained to her that they had been sexually harassed by radio talk show host Natan Zehavi. Zehavi filed a NIS 1.8 million ($520 thousand) libel suit against Shtaif. During the trial, it became clear that Shtaif had not met one of the alleged complainants before running her report, did not verify the details of that report with other parties who were present at the scene according to the complainant, and didn’t offer Zehavi an opportunity to respond to the serious allegations. On April 7, 2019, the court accepted Zehavi’s claim and ordered Shtaif to pay Zehavi NIS 390,000 ($113,000) in compensation, as well as court costs.

Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben Gvir responded to the incident by saying: “Hadas Shtaif this morning took advantage of the microphone that the IDF had given her to support terrorism, incite against me, and even issue a false report (not to suggest that ascending to the Temple Mount encourages terrorism – the opposite is true). I hope her suspension won’t be temporary! I am the first to fight for journalists’ freedom of expression, but those who encourage the terrorists to carry out attacks and look for justifications (as if the past years over here have been like downtown Geneva) should not broadcast on Army radio.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.