Israel regulatory authorities announced on Sunday that they are shutting down an evangelical Christian television station for not disclosing in its license application that its true agenda was missionizing Jews.
The Hebrew-speaking “Shelanu” channel, which began airing at the end of April on GOD TV as part of a seven-year deal, will stop broadcasting this week, according to an announcement by Asher Biton, chairman of Israel’s Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council.
“The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content,” he wrote. “Its original request,” he added, was a “station targeting the Christian population.”
Shelanu, part of one of the largest Christian broadcasting networks in the world, with presence in at least 200 countries, said it was “disappointed” by the council’s “unprofessional decision” and plans to reapply for a license.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported it is “very rare” for the council to remove a channel, noting that Christian channels Daystar and Middle East Television are already on air. This is the first time a Christian channel broadcast in Israel is being shut down.
Ron Cantor, Shelanu’s spokesman in Israel, said the existing license “stated unequivocally” that it would broadcast its content in Hebrew to the Israeli public. He said the station’s management hopes the council will approve the request “and thus avoid a severe diplomatic incident with hundreds of millions of pro-Israel evangelical Christians worldwide.”
Proselytizing is not against Israeli law, as long as it is not directed at minors and does not involve economic coercion.