(photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)
The new Israel Broadcasting Corporation, due to be launched on April 1, will not meet its deadline, Yesh Atid MK Karin Elharrar, who chairs the State Control Committee, said on Monday.
Elharrar chaired the special committee set up in 2014 by former Communications Minister Gilad Erdan to discuss the process for dismantling the Israel Broadcasting Authority and replacing it with another more streamlined public broadcasting service.
Elharrar castigated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds the Communications portfolio, for placing a cloud over the lives of IBA employees, who, she said, had become unwitting victims of the new public broadcasting legislation and did not know whether or not they would be employed at IBC.
Hundreds of workers are sitting at home waiting for a decision from the prime minister regarding their future, she said, adding that their lives are being destabilized by the uncertain employment situation.
“The prime minister has brought the IBA to this sorry state,” she charged,” casting all blame for the chaos in his direction.
Elharrar noted that the she had advanced the Public Broadcasting Law during the previous Knesset, but that the prime minister had taken it in a different direction altogether, and “has sunk the IBA to levels which no one ever imagined,” and IBA management has no clear answers to workers’ questions.
Elharrar convened a meeting of the State Control Committee at the request of Meretz MK Ilan Gilon, who had consistently opposed the dismantling of the IBA and had defended the employees’ rights.
At the meeting, Eldad Koblentz, who had been tasked with setting up the IBC, said that it could not be fully operational by April 1, and that the Finance and Communications Ministries had not yet reached a final decision as to whether the IBC would be launched on the due date. There are two options, he said. One is reducing the number of broadcasts, and the other is for the IBC not to go on air until all operational issues are settled.
Avinoam Rosenbaum, an advisor to the director general of the Communications Ministry, said that a decision as to how and when the IBC would function would be reached within the next 10 days.
There was also a dispute as to the number of IBA workers who can be employed at the IBC and how many can be employed without a tender. Up until Monday’s meeting, 33 people had been hired, and of these 11 were employees of Educational Television.
At least 431 people currently employed by the IBA have applied for jobs at the IBC.