Daily Israel Report

Government Sacks IBA Management

Minister Moshe Kahlon told the Likud central committee last night he has replaced the IBA management with like-minded people; left furious.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/16/2011, 10:52 AM

Moshe Kahlon
Moshe Kahlon
Flash 90

Israel's left is in an uproar over a recording of Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon (Likud) celebrating the sacking of most of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's managers on Thursday.

"I recently replaced the IBA's management," Kahlon said at the latest meeting of the Likud central committee. "I know the board and people are very conscientious - far more than before. Our government is a national government."

Kahlon added: "I'm not worried about the concept of politicization. You sent me to do a job so give me the tools; people I think can implement the path that I believe in. You can have faith in this. I'm not worried about these complaints.

"If I want to help the West Bank, what do you want me to do? Send a leftist director and jeopardize my [views]? You want me to decide who will be there? The left has 60 people of their choosing to send. We need to put in people who share our politics - so I did.

"I came from a political party to represent a political party. I was not chosen in the tender. I was elected, chosen by the people – who expect me to do something, and appoint people who think like us.

In response, leftist politicians and reporters accused the Netanyahu government of "politicizing" Israel's Broadcast Authority – a charge they have long faced themselves due to the monolithic left-wing views expressed by IBA directors and commentators.

Under Israel's current system, the Communications Minister decides when and if there will be broadcast license tenders, and can specify that tenders will represent specific regions or segments of the population – a tool long used to keep Arutz Sheva from being able to obtain a broadcast tender in Israel.

"The cat is out of the bag," Kadima said in a formal statement. "Netanyahu's politicization of the IBA is a fait accompli. The Communications Minister has revealed the ugly face of the Netanyahu government. Netanyahu wants one channel with one view and one opinion – leaving the rest to search for their opinion in another country."

Political analysts note that following the Likud victory in 1977 – which effectively broke the left's decades-long stranglehold on Israel's halls of power – Israel's left sought to maintain power through its grip on Israel's media, universities, and judiciary.

Nationalist politicians have long charged left-wing politicians with using these sectors as a means of censoring the will of the people and vetoing decisions made in the Knesset. 

"The pot is calling the kettle black," a source close to the Communications Ministry told Arutz Sheva on condition of anonymity. "They are upset because their monopoly is broken."