Labor MK Merav Michaeli, a former radio and television broadcaster, has urged Communications Minister Gilad Erdan and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to postpone Monday’s Knesset vote on the closure of the Israel Broadcasting Authority until the current security crisis has been resolved.
“During this time of war, hundreds of Israel Radio journalists and technicians are working day and night to supply the most accurate and vital information to the public; and some of them are doing this under fire and at great personal risk,” Michaeli stated.
She also wondered whether the Knesset could allow itself to pass a law that would cost all these people their jobs.
Meanwhile, objections to the closure from radio listeners from every walk of life, including people with special needs, are pouring into the IBA. Many messages of support from prominent personalities as well as ordinary citizens are being broadcast in the hope that the Knesset will take note.
Last Thursday, on Israel Radio’s political discussion program On the Right and on the Left, author Eli Amir, who is a regular and presents the leftist viewpoint, talked about what a huge mistake it would be to close the IBA. There was no opposition from anyone else in the studio. It was one of those rare occasions in which there was complete consensus between the Left and the Right.
If Erdan has his way, the IBA will cease to exist by the end of March, 2015, and will be replaced with another streamlined and more cost-efficient entity.
Many of those who have objected to the closure are worried that the replacement will lack the quality and variety of Israel Radio in its present format, and that political influence on public broadcasting will be even greater on the new broadcasting service than it is on the present one.