Veteran broadcaster Razi Barkai, who will celebrate his 75th birthday on February 24, has resigned from Army Radio’s flagship current affairs program Ma Bo’er (What’s Burning), which he initiated and formulated 27 years ago after leaving Israel Radio, which he joined in 1971.
At Israel Radio, he held several important positions including Knesset reporter and head of the political desk. It was at Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet station that he also hosted a similar program to that of Army Radio, Hakol Diburim (It’s All Talk).
When he left Israel Radio, his successor in hosting Hakol Diburim was Shelly Yacimovich, before she moved into a career in television, from there to politics, then back to Israel Radio where she co-hosts an evening current affairs program with former Shas MK Yigal Guetta.
In recent years, Barkai has come under fire for political remarks that some listeners, including his bosses, considered offensive and inappropriate. Aside from that there were differences between him and the people in charge over the length of the program.
When fellow broadcaster Yaron Dekel headed Army Radio, he wanted to cut down the two-hour program to one hour in order to create a spot for Erel Segal. In the final analysis that did not eventuate.
But Dekel’s successor, Shimon Alkabetz, had no excuse and no qualms about cutting the program to one hour, and told Barkai that if this was unacceptable to him, he could leave.
In tending his resignation from the program, which in recent weeks has been hosted by Baruch Kara and Ofer Hadad, Barkai said he had gone as far as he could with it. It is not certain whether he will continue to broadcast in another slot on Army Radio, whether he will retire or whether he will return to Reshet Bet, which is now under the aegis of KAN broadcasting.
Dekel went from Reshet Bet to Army Radio, then returned to Reshet Bet and also hosted KAN 11’s Friday night news round-up, in addition to which he was both a radio and television political analyst. He is currently serving as a Jewish Agency emissary in Canada.
Shalom Kittal, 74, who in 1993, after a 23-year career at Israel Radio left to join the now defunct Channel 2, where he served for several years as head of its news corporation, resigned in 2007. In 2008, he served as a political adviser to Ehud Barak and in 2017, he returned to Israel Radio where he has a weekly current affairs program, which is mainly political.
It’s possible that Barkai, unless he decides to retire, will also return to Reshet Bet, especially as threats to close Army Radio have become more relevant than in the past. In all probability, he would rather leap before he’s pushed.