Radio host lashes out at deaf MK

Galey Israel radio host Yossi Ben-Atar lashes out at MK Shirley Pinto over Netanyahu criticism: It's a good thing that you're deaf.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Shirley Pinto
Shirley Pinto
Danny Shem Tov/Knesset Spokesperson

Yossi Ben-Atar, a host on the Galey Israel radio station, on Tuesday lashed out at MK Shirley Pinto (Yamina), the first deaf MK in Israel, over a since deleted tweet criticizing opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Stupid, thickheaded. You stole votes. They voted for you. You know what? It's good that you're deaf, for real. It's good that you're deaf and we cannot hear your cricket-like voice. It's good that you do not know how to speak," he said.

The comments came a day after Pinto tweeted that Netanyahu was guilty of incitement before the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and continues to incite now. She later deleted the tweet.

Following Ben-Atar’s serious remarks, the station issued an apology.

"During a program featuring listeners’ calls which aired today, the presenter of the program expressed his opinion and made statements against MK Shirley Pinto. Galey Israel radio is not prepared to accept statements of this type and apologizes to MK Pinto and to anyone who was offended. It should be noted that the presenter apologized for his remarks shortly after they were said. This incident will be dealt with vis-à-vis the presenter," the station said.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid responded to the incident and said, "This attack on Shirley Pinto is an attack on anyone with disabilities in the State of Israel. I strengthen our friend Shirley, proud of her, proud that she’s a member of the Knesset of Israel."

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked responded and said, "A non-Jewish, immoral and inhuman statement. Most of the people who made filthy comments here in the feed did not deal with a tenth of what Shirley dealt with in life, and with pride. Yossi Ben-Atar - shame on you!"

Minister Matan Kahana responded, "Even if MK Shirley Pinto erred in her statement yesterday, there is nothing that justifies ugly and horrible statements such as the ones heard today on Galey Israel radio. This is not how a broadcaster on a radio station should talk. Glad to see the station was quick to respond and apologize for his remarks. Ugly statements towards people with disabilities and in general must not be allowed."

MK Yomtob Kalfon (Yamina) said, "I am appalled by the despicable statement towards my friend Shirley Pinto. There is nothing in the world that can justify ridicule and harm to a person due to his disability. This broadcaster, Yossi Ben-Atar, is not worthy to broadcast on Israeli radio and I hope that his employers will draw the conclusions. It is permissible to disagree, but while maintaining mutual respect!"