IBA EMPLOYEES protest outside the Knesset yesterday. The sign reads, ‘Democracy=Public Broadcasting’.
(photo credit: IBA)
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat welcomed the decision Sunday by the High Court of Justice to issue an interim injunction against the yet-to-be launched Israel Broadcasting Corporation, demanding that the public broadcaster explain within 17 days why it will begin operations out of Modi’in instead of Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Municipality’s petition against the IBC was heard last Thursday. An IBC representative told the court that no suitable premises had been found in Jerusalem that met the needs of the public broadcasting service which is due to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority on October 1.
At the hearing, Justice Elyakim Rubinstein expressed amazement that so important an institution as the public broadcasting service should not be housed in Jerusalem, especially when such a move was in violation of the public broadcasting service law.
The court asked the IBC to use the IBA’s existing facilities in Romema and downtown on Helene Hamalka Street as a temporary measure until permanent premises are found.
“At a time when we are fighting for the status of Jerusalem in the world, it is embarrassing and disappointing that we have to petition against the IBC in order to strengthen the status of Jerusalem,” said Barkat.
MK Hilik Bar of the Zionist Union who is chairman of the Knesset’s Jerusalem lobby along with Nachman Shai, Erel Margalit and Mordechai Yogev, who were co-signatories to the petition, echoed Barkat’s sentiments adding that while the government keeps talking about the importance of Jerusalem, its actions belie its words. “It’s very sad that we have to fight the system for the honor of Jerusalem.”
Shai, a former IBA reporter and later a chairman of the IBA, said that the court order closes the door on intentions to begin the new public broadcasting service outside Jerusalem.
Shai emphasized that public broadcasting from Jerusalem has political, national and media significance, and that any attempt to relay broadcasts from Modi’in would be foolish.