Israel's main Center- and Left-wing parties Labor, Meretz, Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party on Sunday all accused the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of working deliberately toward the bankruptcy and closure of Channel 10.
Last week, Channel 10 announced it would dismiss all its employees in advance of final closure of the channel at the end of the month. The firings, which were supposed to have taken place on Saturday, were delayed by 48 hours with the hopes that a solution for the channel could be found in that time period.
In separate press statements, Meretz and Labor charged that Netanyahu was acting against the channel because its editorial line "does not serve" the prime minister, while Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party joined in calling the government moves "anti-democratic."
Labor party head Shelly Yacimovich charged the prime minister with personally intervening in demanding the closure of the channel despite agreements reached by all involved parties that would have saved it. "This is is flagrant, destructive, anti-democratic conduct that will will cut the bread-winnings of hundreds of families, something which is well known and which doesn't concern Netanyahu in the slightest."
"This is another step in the anti-democratic efforts of 'Biberman' (an
amalgamation of the names Bibi, Netanyahu's nickname, and Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman)," Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz said. "(Netanyahu
is working) against every address for critical thinking - in court,
academia, culture, civil society organizations, and media."
Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid said "I am wholeheartedly against government actions on this issue. Channel 10 must continue to exist. This is harming democracy, it is harming freedom of expression, it is harming the journalism market and it is harming Israeli media."
The Tzipi Livni Party candidate and current MK Yoel Hasson on Sunday slammed Netanyahu over the state of Israeli media. "The public must awaken to Netanyahu's campaign to destroy the free media in Israel," Hasson said. "This method of silencing opinions and legislating anti-democratic laws must stop."