Keren Neubach 370.
(photo credit: IBA)
After more than quarter of a century of negotiations an agreement for the reform
of the Israel Broadcasting Authority was signed in Lod on Sunday.
heads of the IBA, and representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the
Finance Ministry and the Lod Municipality signed the agreement.
supposed to be an historic and festive occasion was marred by journalists
demonstrating outside the former city council building that will serve as one of
the three focal points of the IBA until an adjacent and more modern building is
The journalists, who had disrupted regular Israel Radio program
schedules throughout the day and part of last month, were ostensibly
demonstrating against what they consider to be the politicization of the
Broadcasting Authority, sparked by restraints put on current affairs anchorwoman
Some also demonstrated against the IBA moving its center
of operations from Tel Aviv to Lod.
But beyond the surface was the fear
As was announced by IBA director-general Yoni Ben- Menachem
in the aftermath of the signing ceremony, the IBA can now go ahead with the
dismissals of some 700 of its employees. Some, especially those nearing
retirement age, had already psyched themselves up to leaving and were leaving
voluntarily with better severance pay packages than they would have received
without the negotiations that preceded the reform agreement.
are others in an age bracket too young for retirement and too old for
job-hunting in a profession which is increasingly geared to the generation just
out of the army, willing to work for minimal wages at the start of a
The dismissals, though discussed for the best part of a decade,
were repeatedly deferred until agreement had been reached by all the parties,
including union representatives. This had happened so many times that
some employees were under the illusion that the ax would never
Among the clauses in the agreement are a NIS 200 million investment
in the acquisition of original Israeli productions; a NIS
330m. investment in state of the art technology for radio and television;
and the centralization of the IBA’s operations to three key areas – Jerusalem,
Lod and Haifa.
A broadcasting tower will be built in Jerusalem in the
Shaare Zedek compound, and this is to be the IBA’s main broadcasting
The signing of the agreement ensures the transfer of NIS 770m. to
the IBA, in accordance with the progress it makes in the implementation of the
The Finance Ministry will give the IBA a bridging loan of NIS
290m. against the sale of the IBA’s real estate holdings in Jerusalem’s
Yirmiyahu Street, and part of the IBA’s holdings in the compound that housed the
original Sha’are Zedek hospital and has for several years served as IBA
The Israel Lands Authority will transfer NIS 150m. to the
IBA on condition that it evacuates its premises in Tel Aviv.
latter sum, NIS 110m. is to be used in carrying out the reforms, and NIS 40m. is
to go towards the construction of a new building in Lod.
In addition the
Finance Ministry will transfer a further NIS 240m. as a loan and NIS 90m. as a
The greatest beneficiary of the reform will be the City of Lod
which will receive an infusion of population and job opportunities.
Locker, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said at the signing
ceremony that the agreement was a good omen for public broadcasting, the State
of Israel, the City of Lod and Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu, who has ministerial responsibility for the Broadcasting Authority,
did not attend the signing ceremony, nor had he given any indication that he