STAFFERS WORK in the offices of the soon-to-debut Israel Broadcasting Corporation in Modi’in..
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
The Israel Broadcasting Corporation – also known as Kan – wasted no time hiring senior staff, following an agreement on Thursday between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon that the broadcaster would go on air April 30 as scheduled.
On Friday, Reshet Bet News Division head Chico Menashe was appointed deputy head of news at the IBC, alongside Baruch Shai, who last month was appointed chief news editor.
The two are not strangers to each other. Both previously worked at Channel 10 and Menashe has also worked in the news division of Channel 2.
According to a press release, Kan will become the only electronic medium in Israel that simultaneously relays news on television, radio and digital devices.
Menashe will continue his employment at Israel Radio until April 30 and then switch seamlessly to Kan.
These are difficult days for Israel Broadcasting Authority employees.
“I work with them on a day-today basis and experience the reality of the impending closure,” said Menashe. “Every person here is a world unto himself. I hope that I can help some of them to overcome this traumatic period and to be absorbed into the IBC workforce.”
A group of IBA employees met on Friday with Netanyahu and came away with the impression that he would still try to prevent the closure of the IBA, with some suggesting a merger with the IBC, to save people at both entities from dismissal.
Netanyahu promised to discuss the matter with acting Communications Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and later tweeted: “I met today with workers of the Israel Broadcasting Authority – a heartbreaking meeting with experienced, dedicated people who are being thrown into the street for a wastrel broadcasting corporation that has no public oversight.”
Veteran entertainer and current affairs commentator Yehoram Gaon, who has been a presenter on Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet for more than 20 years, said the closure of the IBA not only puts a thousand people out of work, but also erases a vital piece of Israel’s cultural DNA.
Israel Radio began in the pre-TV era as an underground station of the Hagana during the British Mandate.
On May 14, 1948, three engineers ensured that those who had radios would be able to hear David Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.
Friday’s edition of Yediot Aharonot carried a full-page advertisement addressed to Kahlon telling him that it was still not too late to repair the damage.
On Saturday, Israel Radio reported Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On as charging Netanyahu with fake empathy for the IBA workers, as only two years ago he accused them of being servants of Hamas.
Israel Radio and Channel 1 repeatedly interrupted programs throughout the weekend with a recording of the prime minister’s pledge last week to rehabilitate the IBA.
IBA chief political commentator Hanan Kristal said there is no battle between the IBA and the IBC, as both are pawns in a power game between Netanyahu and Kahlon. He predicted the crisis would continue till the end of April, when the IBA is scheduled to close and the IBC officially launched.
Channel 1 also aired interviews with top IBA employees who have not been taken on by IBC and will soon find themselves in the job market.
Several voiced anger at Histadrut labor federation head Avi Nissenkorn for allowing the situation to happen, saying if such a situation involved employees of the Israel Electric Corporation or Ben-Gurion Airport he would have called a national strike, but didn’t seem to care enough about a thousand people, most with families to support, who were about to lose their jobs.