I like to stay informed about broadcasting news going on in the world (probably a holdover from my many years listening to shortwave radio). I was quite surprised to learn that Israel’s Knesset had decided to shut down its public broadcaster IBA and replace it with a new, leaner organization called KAN. The shutdown happened rather suddenly this week with the national newscast being yanked off the air, with one news anchor finding out about the closure while she was still on the air (above).
My understanding is that the reason IBA is being closed down is because it has become a big bureaucracy, and Israelis were fed up having to pay massive license fees for broadcasts they don’t tune in to. Also, there are stories the Netanyahu government had it in for IBA over their lousy news coverage. Still, this is a big shock to viewers and listeners there.
The biggest controversy to come from this, I guess, surrounds the impact of this decision on Israel’s annual participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, which actually turned out to be the final show on Channel 1 last night before it left the air. This is a big deal for people in Israel, because they’ve entered and won that contest three times. Anyway, it looks like Israel might not be competing anymore, due to the IBA closure.
This, folks, is bizarre, because you would think this new broadcasting organization would want to be able to air the show and send an entry to compete. The bottom line is there is a lot of confusion today about what is happening, but then again, there is a lot about this story that makes no sense.
Looks like Likud gets 30 seats in the Knesset.
So much for the polls — all of them, including the exit polls — when it came to estimating the actual support for Benjamin Netanyahu and his party. Hope the pollsters and pundits in our part of the world learned a few lessons from this absolute polling debacle out of Israel.
Well, results are coming in in Israel. In spite of what the recent polls were saying about the governing party being in trouble, it appears the last-minute election pronouncements may have worked in Likud’s favor as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is tonight declaring victory.
I don’t know how you can declare a victory when results are showing you are basically tied with the opposition, but Netanyahu must figure he has a far better chance to carve together a coalition government based on the composition of the incoming Knesset.
Just a reminder to myself this is Election Day in Israel and I plan to follow the results live on i24 News. That’s that new 24-hour English language all-news channel from Israel that beams all around the world.
That’s good, because in the old days I tuned in the Hebrew language TV coverage on the Internet and tried, usually in vain, to figure out what the heck was happening in the election. Now I can watch Israel election coverage, direct from Israel, in English, for a change. Much easier. (I guess I could also watch CNN, or Al-Jazeera, but I prefer to tune in the locals.)
There have been some last minute developments in this tight election. Apparently Tzipi Livni has dropped her plans to rotate the PM job with Isaac Herzog, which means Herzog could serve the full four years if their “Zionist Union” coalition is elected. This move is widely seen as an act of political desperation, even though these folks are supposedly leading the polls.
The other big news from the other day is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud party has declared there will be no Palestinian state. This announcement, too, is also widely seen as an act of political desperation.
In other words, everyone is desperate in this election. See, this is why Israeli campaigns are better than what you see in most countries around the world. Good stuff. Anyway, we’ll see what happens when polls close later today.