THE ISRAEL Broadcasting Authority’s building, located in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: SARAH LEVI)
Although no headway has yet been made in the public-broadcasting crisis, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon yielding from their positions, Israel Broadcasting Authority workers on Sunday petitioned the High Court of Justice to delay the authority’s closure pending a ruling on their previous discrimination suit.
Some 100 of them asked the court to order the government to delay closure of the IBA for at least half a year because of impending changes in the Broadcasting Law, and the discrimination to which they have been subjected. They asked the court to rule before the final date of their anticipated dismissal on April 30, when the IBA will close down and the Israel Broadcasting Corporation is due to go on air.
Justice Yoram Danziger ordered the state to respond by April 9 and told both sides to be prepared for the case to be heard before April 30.
Netanyahu wants either to rehabilitate the IBA or to facilitate a merger between the IBA and IBC, but he does not want the IBC to replace the IBA. Kahlon has been avoiding all contact with the IBA and wants the IBC to become operational as scheduled.
Meanwhile, the IBC announced Monday that Uri Levy, 65, a 40-year veteran IBA newsman and sportscaster, is joining Kan and will work at the social-equality desk investigating and reporting on a daily basis alongside Riad Ali, another transfer from the IBA, and other broadcast journalists on the state of the nation.
Some months back, Levy wrote a furious letter against the IBA management, which he claimed had cheated him of his pension rights by not informing him of a change in the system and failing to lodge pension payments on his behalf.
Some of the IBA workers mistrust the IBC’s hiring of veteran broadcasters who are reaching or have passed retirement age, saying that it will be easy to fire them six months down the line for reasons of age.
On the other hand, there is some good news for Eurovision fans who were concerned that Israel might have to drop out of the competition if the IBA is axed. Yoav Ginai, who is in charge of programming at the IBA and is a radio and television interviewer and a song writer, told The Jerusalem Post that, no matter what happens, the Eurovision song contest will be broadcast on Israel’s Channel 1 as it always has been.
The IBC has applied for EBU membership.
The EBU has other, more serious problems that demand solutions. This year’s Eurovision is supposed to take place in Kiev on May 9 and 13, but given the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, the Ukrainian Security Services have banned Russian contestant Julia Samoilova from entering the country.
The EBU doesn’t want to deny Russia the chance to participate and suggested that Samoilova perform via satellite outside Ukraine. The idea was rejected by both Russia’s Channel 1 and the Eurovision organizers in Ukraine. The EBU has to come up with a solution that’s acceptable to everyone.
On the local scene, both Yaakov Eilon and Oren Nahari, who went from the IBA to Walla, are now broadcasting live from a studio online on Sundays to Thursdays at 2 p.m. Eilon is the news anchor, and Nahari has a foreign affairs corner. The idea is to keep expanding until Walla gets permission to open a 24/7 television news channel.
More news is also on the way on Channel 2 toward the end of the year, when Reshet and Keshet will each have their own television channel instead of sharing time on Channel 2. They are aiming to continue the Channel 2 news production as a joint endeavor, unless prevented by law from doing so.