Ban on Arabic TV Broadcasts on Yom Kippur Lifted Following Adalah’s Intervention

For the first time since Israeli Arabic-language TV station Hala was founded in 2012, viewers were able to watch scheduled programs on Yom Kippur following the intervention of NIF grantee Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Last month, Adalah filed a Supreme Court petition against the ban imposed by Israel’s Ministry of Communications and the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council. Adalah argued that the ban violates the freedoms of expression and religion. The following day, the Ministry of Communications lifted the ban.

Previously, all stations operating under the authority of Israel’s Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council were banned from broadcasting during Yom Kippur. However, Adalah Attorney Mohammad Bassam and Hala TV’s legal advisor attorney Nahshon Axelrad argued in the Supreme Court petition that the station’s programming is intended for the Arab public and it should therefore be permitted to broadcast during Yom Kippur.

Bassam successfully argued that the channel was licensed in order to provide services “in the Arabic language, intended for the Arab population in Israel, which has no religious, cultural, or social connection to Yom Kippur. This coercion deals a serious blow to freedom of religion.”

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October 2017