(photo credit: COURTESY OF IBA)
This year’s Ilan Roeh prize awarded annually by the director general of the Israel Broadcasting Authority to outstanding radio journalists, editors and producers, may be the last ever awarded.
The winners are Mira Hoshmand Mitrani, editor of Keren Neubach’s morning current affairs program ‘Agenda’; Germaine Cohen, a veteran news producer; and Aryeh Golan, the early morning current affairs presenter, who is celebrating half a century at Israel Radio.
Roeh, a reporter for Israel Radio who had been covering events in Southern Lebanon for five years, was killed together with three members of the IDF, including Brig.-Gen. Erez Gerstein, in February 1999, when the military convoy in which he was traveling struck a roadside bomb.
Roeh was only 32 at the time, and his colleagues decided to establish the director general’s annual prize for excellence in Roeh’s memory. As the IBA is scheduled to be dismantled at the end of September, there is no guarantee that the tradition of awarding the Ilan Roeh Prize will be continued by the yet to be established Israel Broadcasting Corporation.
Current IBA employees are still working under a cloud of uncertainty, intensified by the Facebook post last Friday by veteran television broadcaster Uri Levy, who only recently discovered that he has been cheated out of his pension and that he is not the only one in this predicament.
According to Levy, some 15 years ago the IBA decided to put certain senior staff on private contracts, where on the face of it they would earn more than colleagues on the collective agreement, with the stipulation that their gross salaries also covered work on Saturdays, Jewish festivals and overtime in general.
The reward was to come when they retired. Levy’s gross salary is NIS23,400, despite the fact that he also held managerial positions in the IBA. The contract was signed by the IBA director general and the IBA’s deputy director of finances, and approved by the IBA’s legal department.
The tensions that have surrounded the IBA in recent years contributed to Levy suffering a stroke from which he has generally recovered, but he was not paid for his sick days which were apparently overlooked in the contract. Moreover, the Finance Ministry now refuses to recognize or honor the contract, and Levy – who has reached retirement age – has been left with a pension far below what he anticipated.
He is one of several people in this position.
Another veteran employee told the Post on condition of anonymity that fellow employees are experiencing much anxiety, not knowing whether there will be yet another extension of the IBA’s now fragile existence, whether it really will close down on September 30, and whether they will be employed at the IBC.
Meanwhile broadcasts are continuing as usual in as a upbeat a manner as possible. On Monday, Reshet Gimmel, the IBA’s Israeli music station, celebrated its 40th anniversary on air by bringing back veteran broadcasters to host once popular programs, some of which are no longer broadcast.
Despite public protests by President Reuven Rivlin, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and members of the Knesset’s Jerusalem lobby, there is still no final word as to whether the IBC will broadcast out of Modiin or Jerusalem. According to law, the public broadcasting service must be headquartered in Jerusalem.