Israeli regulatory authorities on Sunday announced that they are shutting down the U.S.-based Christian station, GOD TV. The authorities claim the television station did not disclose its true agenda when applying for a broadcast license.
Nearly two months ago, the Israeli Communications Ministry threatened to shut down a new channel set up by GOD TV named “Shelanu.” Although HOT — an Israeli cable provider — received a license to air Shelanu, the chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, Asher Biton, said he wasn’t aware the channel was going to engage in missionary activity.
“According to our regulations, it is fine to broadcast religious programming,” Biton said. “But authorities forbid the broadcast of content that has the potential to influence… young and impressionable viewers.”
As a result, the communications ministry made good on their threat and ordered the removal of the channel. In fact, regulators said the channel hid its missionary agenda when applying for a license.
“The channel appeals to Jews with Christian content,” Biton wrote. “Its original request,” he said, stated that it was a “station targeting the Christian population,” The Associated Press reported.
“A channel that wishes to spread the gospel of Jesus among the Jewish nation sitting in Israel had never been broadcast on Hot. The heads of the channel knew that…,” Biton said. “Therefore… the channel should not be allowed to continue broadcasting based on the license it was given.”
Ron Cantor, GOD TV regional director in Israel, denied that the network is in violation of its terms. He said the allegations against the station are “simply not true.”
“From the first day we met with HOT, it was very clear what we wanted to broadcast: Messianic Jews sharing their faith in Yeshua in a variety of ways… And that’s what we do to this day,” Cantor said.
“Our content providers are Israelis. Sabras. Serving in the Army. Paying their taxes. And we are people of integrity. If we really lied to get a license, of course we would have been caught. It does not make sense. It goes against everything we teach.”
The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council notified Hot that it would remove the channel within the next seven days. The council did, however, tell GOD TV it could submit a new license application. They instructed the network to provide a more “honest” description of the nature of its programming.
“It doesn’t bother us that he wants us to apply for a new license,” Cantor said. “Maybe there was some confusion in his understanding of Shelanu. However, to say that we tricked him into broadcasting content… is simply not true.”