Yoni Ben Menachem_58.
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
Following a delay of two months since the recommendation by the plenum of the
Israel Broadcasting Authority that veteran broadcaster Yoni Ben-Menachem, be
appointed its director-general, the government on Sunday gave its unanimous
Technically, this would give Ben-Menachem the green light to go
ahead with projects that have been incorporated into the IBA reforms – for
instance a 24-hour trilingual news channel, which has been approved in principle
by the IBA plenum, but which is likely to remain on hold due to budgetary
Ben-Menachem’s appointment has been a matter of controversy
within the corridors of the IBA. While some people are all in favor and say he
is a proven professional, others say that he is too close to Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu, who is the minister responsible for the implementation of
the Broadcasting Authority Law.
Similar charges have been leveled against
Michael Miro, who was recently appointed to head Israel Radio. Although
strenuous efforts have been made over the years to keep political interference
and influence out of the IBA, this is almost impossible considering that under
the law there is always a government minister responsible for the IBA, and in
this instance it’s the prime minister.
Ben-Menachem’s appointment was
delayed a number of weeks following appeals by the Tel Aviv Journalists
Association and the Movement for Quality Government.
The Movement for
Quality Government turned to Tanya Spanitz, who heads the governmental
appointments oversight committee, and asked her to look into Ben-Menachem’s ties
to the prime minister. The Spanitz committee approved the
Ben-Menachem has worked for Israel Radio for nearly 30
years, and has been a reporter, commentator and editor. Among the senior posts
he held there were diplomatic correspondent, and director of Israel Radio from
2003 to 2008.