BBC apologizes to British chief rabbi over on-air gaffe


The BBC issued an apology to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks after a presenter asked him about the Gaza operation while he thought he was off the air.

Sacks presented the “Thought for the Day” on BBC Radio 4 Today on Friday. After the segment, presenter Evan Davies asked the rabbi's opinion on the conflict between Gaza and Israel.

Sacks responded, “I think it's got to do with Iran, actually,” and then issued a call for “a continued prayer for peace, not only in Gaza but for the whole region. No one gains from violence.” He then was told he was still on the air.

Sacks was said to be angry about the incident, the Guardian reported, citing BBC sources.

“The Chief Rabbi hadn't realized he was still on-air and as soon as this became apparent, we interjected,” the BBC said via a spokesman. “Evan likes to be spontaneous with guests, but he accepts that in this case it was inappropriate and he has apologized to Lord Sacks. The BBC would reiterate that apology.”

French consul injured after Israeli raid on Gaza


France’s consul to the Gaza Strip, his wife and 13-year-old daughter were injured during an Israeli air strike on Sunday night, French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

Valero told reporters the three were hit by shrapnel at their residence in Gaza, which is located 200 meters from the site of an Israeli missile attack, he added.

“France condemns the consequences of the raid,” he said. “While we are all for Israeli security, France recalls the utmost necessity to avoid civilian harm,” Valero said, without specifying the nature of their injuries.

The raid, which killed one policeman and wounded four others after Palestinian militants from the coastal territory fired a rocket into southern Israel, is likely to strain already difficult relations between Paris and Jerusalem.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm friendship despite what he refers to as their “differing views on the Middle East”.

Sarkozy’s comments, in a condolence message to Netanyahu for the death of his father-in-law, seemed to make an effort to try to clear the air a week after a reported gaffe this month at the G20 summit in Cannes, when he was overheard telling U.S. President Barack Obama he thought Netanyahu was “a liar”.

Reporting By Vicky Buffery; writing by John Irish