(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Only a few days after announcing that the launch of the Israel Broadcasting Corporation which is taking over from the Israel Broadcasting Authority would be postponed for some 18 months, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who also holds the Communications portfolio – announced on Monday that the launch would probably take place around April 30, 2017.
The announcement was in the wake of a compromise reached between Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon who had been opposed to any delay, but had been persuaded that the previous launch date of October 1 was unfeasible.
The IBC team reserves the right to go to air even earlier and believes that it will be ready to do so by January 1, in which case it will seek ministerial permission to bring the launch date forward.
Kahlon told his Kulanu faction that he met the prime minister several times over the last few days about the IBC and agreed that on January 1, the director-general of IBC would tell them if he is ready to go on the air, and if he is, it will. If for whatever reason, he will not be ready, the IBC will go on the air no later than April 30.
“Strong public broadcasting is an essential component of strong democracy,” Kahlon told the MKs. “Strong public broadcasting means the society and press are also strong.”
Kahlon denied published reports that the delay would cost a massive sum of money. He said no additional budget would be needed beyond what was already allocated.
Meanwhile there are ructions at Educational Television, which was actually the pioneer of television in Israel, having started in 1965, three years prior to the initial broadcast by Israel Television now known as Chanel 1.
Like the IBA, ETV is threatened with extinction once IBC becomes operational, and its workers are furious because little consideration is being given to them. They do not know whether they will be incorporated into IBC or whether they will find themselves unemployed, and in the latter case, what sort of compensation, if any, they will receive. Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn has been more preoccupied with IBA employees who will soon be pounding the pavement than those of ETV.