Shas: Public broadcasting channel getting back at Aryeh Deri

Shas MK's outraged after Public Broadcasting airs report that Deri is to be indicted shortly after Deri floats plan to close broadcaster.

Tzvi Lev,

Kan newscast
Kan newscast
Rafi Dalia

Shas MK's are contending that Kan, Israel's Public Broadcasting Corporation, is purposely running negative stories about Shas leader Aryeh Deri as revenge for Deri floating a plan that would shut down the Public Broadcasting Corporation.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri suggested closing the Public Broadcasting Corporation in order to save half a billion shekels annually. Several hours later, Kan reported that Deri and his wife Yafa are likely to be indicted for tax offenses as part of a long-running investigation against them. According to Shas MK Michael Malchieli, the report was in revenge for Deri seeking to close down Kan.

" Deri said that there was no reason for the government to pay NIS 700 million annually for Kan," said Michaeli. "Soon after, Kan reporter Mordechai Gilat, who has been leading an obsessive witchhunt against Deri, goes on television and reports that Aryeh Deri, his wife, and his brother will all be indicted. The next morning Gilat besmirched Deri again on the radio."

Malchieli contended that as a state-funded Television channel, it is improper for Kan to malign an elected official. "It is inconceivable that a public channel can serve as a platform for settling accounts and taking revenge on a public servant like Deri. Their conduct shows the need to close down the Corporation," said Malchieli.

Israel's Public Broadcasting Corporation was formed to replace the Israeli Broadcast Authority, which had suffered from low ratings for years while its top officials received large salaries. However, its high cost has led some politicians to question the need for publicly funded broadcasting.