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An Open Letter to the Israel Broadcasting Authority

At a time when Israel needs to be heard, why have you silenced the TV News in English?

ESRA (English Speaking Residents Association) is the largest English speaking volunteer organization in Israel. As such we are appalled at the demise of the daily IBA News in English. It has been a slow death with the letting go of excellent anchor presenters over the past two years. Initially Channel 1 showed a short bulletin at 4.50 pm which was followed at 5.00 pm with a 20 – 25 minute broadcast on Channel 33.

During the past two years we witnessed the end of the news in English on Channel 1 together with the Channel 33 showing being transferred from a reasonable time of 5.00 pm to a far less popular time of 4.00 pm. We watched as slowly but surely the best of the anchor men and women left the "sinking ship" persuaded, as they were, to take a redundancy offer rather than wait to be fired. At the moment of writing we are left only with a magazine program once a week which is being kept alive by a limited but dedicated tiny staff.

Our organization, representing thousands of English speakers, has been inundated with phone calls and emails from those who do not speak Hebrew well enough to understand the news in Hebrew. These citizens have relied completely on the daily news bulletin in English. Only in this way could they be informed as to what is happening here on a daily basis.

Putting aside the necessity of English speaking Olim being provided with a news program in English there are 83 Embassies based in Israel representing their respective countries. English is an international language which means that the Ambassadors and Diplomats now have to rely on the likes of the BBC, CNN and others whose projection of Israel is frequently distorted at best and biased against Israel at worst.

At a time when the perception of Israel, worldwide, is at an all-time low surely this should be the moment to consider providing the world with an insight into the reality that is Israel. Rather than eliminate the news in English we should be creating our own 24/7 "Al Jazeera" type channel beamed internationally.

However, for the time being, we urge you to reinstate immediately the daily News in English program which serves tens of thousands of viewers. We hope you will treat this matter with the urgency it deserves.

We look forward to hearing from you

Brenda Katten

Co-chairperson ESRA

0528 97 4000

And here's their positive response to our plea . . .

Thank you so much for your email. Indeed, the past year was a time of change in the IBA. We are well aware of the importance of the daily news bulletin to the English-speaking community in Israel.

The reason for the absence of this specific broadcast is due to manpower shortage in a few relevant fields. However, you may be pleased to know that we have taken measures to rectify the situation and we do expect that within a short period of time the daily news bulletin will be renewed.

Bari Bar-Zion

Special Manager, IBA 



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Thursday, 25 July 2024

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