As envoy heads to Russia, Israel Radio misreports itself

Yaron Dekel falsely refers to Dorit Golender as the manager of Radio Reka.

Foreign language broadcasters at Israel Radio are angry because they feel that they’ve been denigrated by their colleagues.
On Wednesday, Yaron Dekel in his program Hakol Diburim (It’s all Talk), on the Hebrew-language Reshet Bet, interviewed Dorit Golender, who is due to leave this week for Moscow to take up her appointment as ambassador to Russia.
Golender does not have a diplomatic background, and Foreign Ministry career diplomats say the posting is too important to be given to someone inexperienced in diplomacy, even though the Lithuanianborn Golender is a native Russian-speaker.
Golender, who was known to be active in the Israel Beiteinu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, was appointed by him, despite objections from within the ministry.
For the past 16 years, she headed the Russian Division of Radio Reka, in which capacity she has met with and interviewed leading figures from all walks of life. She believes that this experience has to a major extent prepared her for her new role.
In the interview, both Dekel and Golender gave the impression that Radio Reka is purely a Russian-language radio network – which of course, is not the case. Radio Reka, of which Golender was one of the founders, initially went to air during the 1990-1 Gulf War, when it was realized that many new immigrants who were largely ignorant of what to do in emergency situations needed to be informed in languages that they could understand.
Dekel kept referring to Golender as the manager of Radio Reka, an inaccurate title, in that the head of Radio Reka is Shmuel Ben-Zvi. Golender was head of the Russian language division, whose broadcasts admittedly have more listeners than those in other languages, but that should not have caused her to say: “Radio Reka is an Israeli station in the Russian language.”
Nor should it have caused Dekel to remark that there used to be broadcasts in Hungarian, as if to imply that Russian is now the only foreign language broadcast on Reka.
As it happens, Hungarian is one of 14 languages broadcast on Radio Reka, which also include English, French, Amharic, Farsi, Ladino and Yiddish.
An Israel Broadcasting Authority spokesman downplayed the inaccurate impression created by both Dekel and Golender, by telling The Jerusalem Post that the main purpose of the interview was to highlight the fact that the head of the Russian division had been appointed ambassador to Russia, but acknowledged that he had read the transcript of the broadcast several times.
There are two core divisions in Reka.
One is the Russian division, whose new head is veteran newsman Michael Gilboa, who used to broadcast on Israel Radio’s foreign language shortwave service. The other division, headed by Allegra Amado, covers the 13 other languages.
REKA is an acronym for Reshet Klitat Aliya (the immigrant absorption network).
Reka, as a word on its own in Hebrew, also means background, and language is the background of every new immigrant.
There was a major hue and cry some years ago when the shortwave service became the victim of budgetary constraints, but Israel’s foreign language broadcasters now admit that Reka via Internet caters to much wider audiences, since listeners are no longer bound to specific time frames, but can call up recorded broadcasts almost anywhere in the world at an hour to their liking. The shortwave broadcasts could not always be picked up in certain countries, whereas the Internet broadcasts, whether live or recorded, can be picked up wherever there is any kind of Internet connection.