Kazakhstani Jewish billionaire Alexander Mashkevitch on Thursday announced a
plan to open a pro-Israel news channel to rival Al-Jazeera at an estimated
initial cost of at least “$100 million.”
In an interview over the phone
from New York, Mashkevitch told The Jerusalem Post he has ordered a feasibility
study for the project that has been a decade in the making.
“It’s not a
new project, we’ve discussed it for 10 years,” said the mining magnate, whose
fortune is estimated at more than $3 billion. “Everybody understands in Israel
and the Jewish world today that there is a war not by weapons and military
troops, but of information.”
A source close to Mashkevitch said the
project should cost at least “$100m.” in its initial stage and that he expected
it to start broadcasting by “mid- 2012.”
“There will be a few languages
in English, Spanish and Arabic,” Mashkevitch said. “For the time being we
invited a group of professionals to give a business plan. I think in three, four
months we’ll have a presentation and during this presentation we’ll understand
who is with us,” he said, declining to go into further details.
Kyrgyzstan to parents who fled Europe during World War II, Mashkevitch made his
fortune in the mining industry in nearby Kazakhstan where he has close ties with
Besides his business ventures, Mashkevitch is the head of
the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress and supports Jewish activities and organizations
in several countries.
Mashkevitch said the new channel would deliver
fairer coverage of Israel than that which the international media provides. He
added that he he would “not be involved in the daily operation.”
channel will be not only for Israel but the world, and there is room for such a
channel,” he said.
“We would like to deliver news to billions of
people. We will know more after due diligence but there is a group of
people who are ready to invest.”