Israel averts government crisis with compromise on public broadcaster

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon reached a compromise plan over Israel’s new public broadcasting corporation, averting a government coalition crisis.

The compromise deal was reached Thursday after more than a week of fears that Netanyahu would dissolve the government over the controversy and move to new elections.

Under the compromise, the new Israel Broadcasting Corp., or Kan, will begin broadcasting on April 30 as scheduled, but without a news division. The news division will be spun off to a new entity staffed by workers from the old Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) who would have lost their jobs to Kan, which was supposed to be more politically independent than the IBA.

David Bitan, chair of the ruling coalition, said in November that Kan had already been “hijacked by people whose agenda is leftist and anti-government.”

Legislation approved in 2014 launched the new broadcaster.

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