(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Knesset Economics Committee approved waiving the Israel Broadcasting
Authority’s 2011 debts Monday, but again delayed a vote on whether to forgive
financially- stricken Channel 10’s debt repayments for another
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson slammed the government for repeatedly
delaying discussion on Channel 10, and in particular called into question the
actions of Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), who led Monday’s meeting.
'Comparison between IBA, Channel 10 is a hollow ruse'
people demonstrated in Moscow Sunday against the same sort of behavior exhibited
by Elkin in the Economics Committee this morning. This Putinesque horror show
and the silencing of the committee chairman are preludes to the blacking out of
Channel 10 on January 27,” Hasson said.
Channel 10 CEO Yossi Varshavsky
said he was perplexed that MKs had agreed to pardon the IBA’s debts while at the
same time resist allowing Channel 10 more time to repay its debts.
a matter of NIS 45 million [in debts], for which we are not seeking a pardon,
Stalin and his cultural commissar [Andrei] Zhdanov want to shut us down for
doing our job.”
The allegation of political motives goes back to a report
by Haaretz in November that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tried to have
Channel 10 investigative reporter Raviv Druker fired.
Netanyahu and wife
Sara are suing Druker and a colleague over a broadcast earlier this year of
allegations the prime minister billed two organizations for flights in
Varshavsky later asked that his comments be withdrawn from the
record, following an angry reaction from MK Israel Eichler (UTJ), who said that
Stalin and Zhdanov shut down synagogues and harmed Soviet Jewry.
comparison, Eichler said, should be between the actions of Stalin and Zhdanov
and those of Channel 10, who he accused of inciting against Judaism.
big winner from Monday’s committee meeting, the IBA, had owed the state NIS
300m. for failing to meet its obligations to devote 36 percent of its annual
budget to the local production industry.
The IBA itself says it invested
just NIS 25m. in local production this year, instead of the required NIS
A proposal by MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) to have the entire Knesset
vote on waiving the IBA’s debts from 2012 and beyond was rejected, as was a
proposal by MK Einat Wilf (Independence), to assess the broadcaster’s
obligations to local production on a quarterly – rather than a yearly –
“We already know they will not meet their obligations in the
future,” Cabel said.