The cabinet today approved an amendment to the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Law proposed by Minister without Portfolio Ofir Akunis.
According to the amendment, which was already approved by the previous government, the new timetable for setting a public broadcasting corporation will be March 2016, and it will be called "The Israel Broadcasting Corporation."
In contrast to the preceding bill, the television license fee for households will be eliminated immediately, not after the new broadcasting corporation is set up.
Following today's cabinet decision, the IBA workers are expected to take protest measures.
Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, who led the reform in the Israel Broadcasting Authority in his position as Minister of Communications in the previous government, did not attend the cabinet meeting, and did not take part in the vote.
Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri was the only minister abstaining in the vote. "The 700 Israel Broadcasting Authority employees should be recruited from among the 1,500 planned layoffs," Deri said at the end of the meeting. "It's not right to fire 1,500 workers and bring 700 new workers in their places. That's wrong, illogical, and unfair."
Deri was commenting on a controversial clause in the bill arousing anger among the workers the fact that the acting director general can recruit 400 employees, in contrast to only 20 employees under the current law. The controversy lies in the fact that the number of workers to be recruited from the existing IBA has not been stated, and the new workers will be recruited simultaneously with the continued employment of those IBA workers.
No public council will supervise acting director general Eldad Koblentz, since none has been appointed, although members for one were selected by a hiring committee headed by Judge (ret.) Ezra Kama.
The amendment is scheduled for its first Knesset reading tomorrow, after which it will send to a special subcommittee of the Knesset Economics Committee.
Akunis said, "Our duty is to ensure public broadcasting that will reflect the general opinions, diversity, beliefs, and cultures in Israeli society. In the past month, since I assumed responsibility for the IBA, I have acted, together with the Ministry of Communications director general, and in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, to ensure the existence of Israel public broadcasting, and the decision that the cabinet has now made guarantees this."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 19, 2015
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