Will Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation be closed by budget cuts?

The situation with the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation is déjà vu for those who remember the fate of the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

 An emergency meeting of the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, on January 23, 2023. (photo credit: COURTESY IPBC)
An emergency meeting of the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation, on January 23, 2023.
(photo credit: COURTESY IPBC)

There was a déjà vu atmosphere at the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC), known by its trade name, KAN, on Sunday, as veteran broadcasters who had previously worked under the umbrella of the defunct Israel Broadcasting Authority recalled the drawn out, and ultimately successful attempt, to close down the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) in 2017.

There had been emergency meetings and protest demonstrations, all to no avail, but at least in the final analysis, IPBC was established, albeit with a greatly reduced budget.

The final broadcast of the Mabat News, the central news broadcast on the former Channel One, came to an abrupt end in mid-broadcast in May 2017 after 49 years on air, with only two hours advance notice.

Newsreader Michal Rabinovich, who happily has been kept on by the IPBC, was the last news anchor to present the program and was unable to hold back her tears.

Now, she is in danger of shedding tears again.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi (credit: SHLOMO KARHI)Likud MK Shlomo Karhi (credit: SHLOMO KARHI)

Will the Israel Public Broadcasting Corporation budget cuts mark its end?

In one of his first announced decisions, Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi (Likud), who is no fan of public broadcasting, said that there would be significant cuts in the IPBC’s budget.

That will mean more repeat programming and fewer replacements for staff who have retired or been dismissed.

IPBC CEO Golan Yachpaz called an emergency meeting on Sunday, which was attended by a large number of employees – including most of the star editorial staff. He said that 70% of the public does not want to see public broadcasting shut down or changed.

IPBC chairman Gil Omer, who in the past has been involved in disputes with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who like Karhi has no great love for public broadcasting – vowed to fight shoulder to shoulder with Yachpaz to ensure that the fate that befell the IBA would not be repeated with the IPBC.

This pledge was endorsed by staff.

The corporation’s news and current affairs radio station Reshet Bet continues to enjoy the highest listener ratings, compared to rival stations.