Is IBA trying to break the spirit of Keren Neubach?
Comment: Firing radio host would be tantamount to a declaration of war with social welfare and women’s organizations,
Israel press credentials Photo: Courtesy
Fans and colleagues of Israel Radio’s Keren Neubach say the powers that be at
the Israel Broadcasting Authority are trying to break her spirit by reducing her
influence and saddling her with professional burdens that she would rather not
A tendency to aggression and left-wing positions annoy some of the
listeners of Neubach’s daily Seder Hayom (“Agenda”) program on Israel Radio’s
But whether she irritates or delights, both her admirers and
detractors agree that there is no doubt that she is on the side of the
Neubach, like her colleague Peerli Shahar, goes to bat for
those defenseless individuals who are unable to stand by themselves against
Israeli bureaucracy and cannot afford to pay a lawyer to do it for
The difference is that Shahar somehow manages not to offend the
establishment, whereas Neubach is a perpetual thorn in its side, never
hesitating to throw a barb when she feels it’s justified.
Oded Shahar, who for a long time was the economics reporter on the Israel
Broadcasting Authority’s Channel 1, but who now mainly focuses on hosting the
controversial Politica program, and who occasionally appears as a guest on
Neubach’s morning radio show, has also managed to keep himself out of
The word is out in the corridors of the IBA that veteran
broadcasters had better watch their backs because management is out to get
How much of this is true and how much is rumor is hard to say,
because there are veterans such as Yaakov Ahimeir and Shmuel Shay who are both
well past retirement age, who continue to broadcast regularly, and there are
younger people such as Ynon Magal, who, four-and-ahalf years ago, was wooed away
from Channel 10 to become the co-anchor of Mabat News with Merav Miller,
following the retirement of Haim Yavin.
Why two people were needed on a
regular basis at the expense of the public purse is a question that remains
open, although neither of the two is presenting Mabat any more. Miller’s place
has been taken by the classically beautiful and professionally competent Michal
Rabinovich, who has been partnered with different male colleagues who don’t seem
terribly comfortable in the job. Nor does she seem nearly as self-confident and
authoritative as she is when broadcasting alone. Miller is on maternity leave
and Magal has resigned. The two discovered through the print media that they
were targets for dismissal. Under the law, Miller could not be fired, but Magal
could. He decided to jump before he was pushed. Neubach has had much longer
tenure at the IBA, and so far, has managed to resist efforts to break her
For several months she was the anchor of Mabat Sheni (“Second
Look”), but she was dropped toward the end of the year on grounds that she was
She was replaced by Noa Barak. Long before she was a
program host or anchor, Neubach was a political reporter appearing on screen
almost daily. Nobody suggested then that she was not sufficiently
Incidentally, Itai Landsberg, the editor of Mabat Sheni, is
having his own problems with the IBA over his replacement as director of Channel
1’s documentary department.
Neubach has continued with her morning radio
show, but not on a daily basis.
Her spot is taken by someone else at
least once a week.
This week, her emotional stamina was tested yet again
when a co-anchor was forced on her. Menachem Ben, a columnist whose writings
frequently appear in Ma’ariv, will for the time being broadcast with her only on
Sundays. There is no chemistry between the two, but the reason given by the IBA
for forcing Ben on Neubach was to give the program more balance. According to a
representative of the IBA Spokesman’s Department, listeners had complained that
Neubach was too one-sided in her views. How the new arrangement will pan out is
Neubach has considerable public opinion and quite a few
Knesset members on her side, and if the IBA does eventually fire her, it will be
tantamount to a declaration of war with women’s and social welfare
organizations. Neubach, aside from fighting the battles of the weaker sectors of
society, volunteers at the Center for Victims of Sexual Abuse, and is a
divorcee, with two young children.
The IBA has been saying for some time
that within the framework of its reforms, it wants to find new faces and
Some of these have been appearing recently on Israel Radio and
Channel 1, and in the perceptions of some listeners and viewers the newcomers
are still learning on the job, and in so doing are lowering the standards of
In other IBA developments, even veteran broadcasters
have been asked to cut short interviewees who speak out against the government.
This was confirmed by both a radio journalist and a television journalist who
each spoke to The Jerusalem Post on condition of anonymity.
“The IBA is
falling apart,” said the television journalist.
But an announcement
released on Sunday by the IBA indicates that the opposite may be true and that
the long-awaited reforms are well on the way to implementation.
from the millions of shekels invested in advanced technological equipment for
coverage of the Olympics Games, which open this Friday in London, the IBA on
Sunday reached an agreement whereby the first phase of the transfer of its Tel
Aviv operations to Lod would be completed by Rosh Hashana.
The IBA will
build something in the nature of a communications city in Lod, but its initial
operations will be out of the old Lod Municipal Building that has been made
available by Mayor Meir Nitzan who met on Sunday with IBA director-general Yoni
Ben-Menachem, head of the implementation of the reforms Zelig Rabinovitch, the
IBA’s deputy head of technology Rafi Yehoshua and the team responsible for the
sale and/or transfer of IBA properties.
Ben-Menachem said that he was
pleased that all the obstacles related to the move had been cleared and that
headway could now be made.