Al Jazeera broadcasts false report of former Israeli soldier

A clip from Al Jazeera report of Ukrainian-Israeli Elena Zakusilo participating in a Ukrainian TV show called Lie Detector (Photo: screenshot)

The Qatar based Al Jazeera TV network aired an investigative report last week showing a volunteer Israel soldier claiming she killed Palestinian civilians and children while serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — a false claim the woman made on a reality show called Lie Detector.

Ukrainian-Israeli Elena Zakusilo, who had served as a volunteer in the IDF, made her statement while participating in a Ukrainian TV show called Lie Detector. Ynet New reported that Zakusilo’s statement was false at the time she made it in 2013, but Al Jazeera aired it out of context nevertheless.

On the show the host asked Zakusilo a number of questions, including whether she had been a professional IDF soldier and whether she had been asked to kill children. She responded yes to both questions. The show’s “lie detector” determined she was telling the truth, but in fact she was not.

Israel had to investigate the issue after Ukrainian Muslims expressed outrage at what Zakusilo had said on the show. As it turns out, she held only a junior administrative position in the IDF, and had never been in a combat situation such as she had described.

The Ukrainian security services also conducted an inquiry and issued a statement.

“Elena Zakusilo did not participate in military confrontations, including between Lebanon and Israel,” the statement read. “Everything she said on Lie Detector does not conform to reality. Her answers on the show were given based on a script prepared by the main editor of the TV show.”

Israel has been considering shutting down the Al Jazeera office in Jerusalem because of a long perceived bias against the Jewish state. When, for example, two Israeli police officers were recently killed by Palestinian terrorists near the Temple Mount, the network tweeted only: “At least three Palestinians killed in the Old City.”

Making no mention of the murdered police officers, or why the Palestinians were killed, the network’s tweet was referring to the fact that the three attackers were killed by Israeli security forces as they escaped from the scene of the murders they committed.

Upon discovering that Al Jazeera had aired Zakusilo’s statement as though it were truth, the Government Press Office contacted the network’s bureau chief in Israel, Walid Omar, demanding an explanation.

Omar has apparently passed the complaint on to the network.