Members of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) are demonstrating in Jerusalem against the closing down of their organization and the formation of a successor organization, to be called Kan (here in Hebrew). This has been a Government policy for some years. The ostensible reason was that the IBA had grown too big and was costing too much. So why not make cost-cutting measures, fire some staff, surely that would cost less than closing the whole organization and starting a whole new one. By doing this, about 1000 trained professionals will be out of work and new ones will have to be found and retrained. Also the ongoing programming will be totally disrupted.
For example, Kan has no plans to continue the English-language news broadcasts which have been going on for years. Every day at 4 pm there is a 15-20 min News summary in English on IBA News TV. It is good, short and very useful, especially to English-speakers like me and also foreign diplomats working in Israel and the many English-speaking tourists who visit Israel. Why on earth when Israel’s image is so bad would the Government decide as a short-sighted cost-cutting measure to shut down the one English-language news broadcast in Israel. There is in fact a private TV news program in English at 10 pm, but it’s not the same.
Yesterday PM Netanyahu held a press conference with the Heads of the Israeli start-up called Mobileye, that specializes in software for driverless cars, and Intel, the large US computer company, that is buying Mobileye for ten billion dollars (yes, that’s billion!). Of course, Netanyahu was saying how this represents a step up for Israel into the top technology countries in the world, and how this is making Israel affluent. So if Israel is so affluent why is there this asinine plan to close down the IBA, it makes no sense. It was spawned during an earlier political dispute, probably a personal one, between two now forgotten politicians. Netanyahu has pledged to stop the plan, but so far there is no sign of that. This whole stupid self-inflicted wound is typical of Israeli politics.