The Israel Broadcasting Authority will be closed next year and the television tax will be cancelled, under a law that passed its first Knesset reading Monday.
The bill, proposed by MKs and ministers form the Likud, goes back to committtee for final changes, and will be voted upon for its second and third readings sometime in the summer, officials said.
The bill will shut down the IBA and its radio and television stations, including Reshet Aleph, Bet, Gimel, Reka Radio, the Arabic radio station, and Channels 1, 23, and 33.
The IBA will close down by March 31, 2015, by which time a panel will have been appointed to devise a plan to continue public broadcasts in a more economical manner.
Communication Minister Gilad Erdan was one of the sponsors of the bill. Speaking Monday, Erdan said that he had been working to pass this law since starting the job. “I spent a great deal of time learning about the awful situation of the IBA.
Broadcasts are less relevant now than ever, and many young people are unaware that there is even such a thing as public broadcasts in this country. Most of the IBA's budget goes to pay for salaries and pensions, not for content.
Polls indicate that Israel's public broadcasts are the second least-watched in the world. Only Lebanon's public TV has fewer viewers as a percentage of population.”
“Israel is a pioneer in so many fields,” Erdan said. “Establishing a panel to decide on the most effieicent way to broadcast will allow us to cancel the TV tax.”