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The National Riddle

By       Message Uri Avnery       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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From Gush Shalom


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WHAT IS the difference between a "corporation" and an "authority"?

You don't know? Join the 8.5 million Israelis who don't know either.

It's a national riddle. The whole country is absorbed by it. The Prime Minister announces that he will "go to the very end" to achieve his end. Which end? I don't know. I am not sure that he knows. Nobody I know knows.

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The Prime Minister threatens the worst. If he does not get his way -- whatever it is -- he will do something absolutely awful: announce new elections. Let the people decide whether they want the authority or the corporation. Whatever they are.

WHAT IS it all about? One thing is certain: it concerns the public media.

Binyamin Netanyahu wants to have them under his control. Completely. Totally. Radio. Television. The social media. The lot.

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Seems it is not so easy to get a firm grip on them.

Long before there was Israel and long before there was television, the British Government of Palestine founded the Voice of Jerusalem, a radio station that provided us with the news throughout World War II. When the State of Israel came into being, this radio station changed into the Voice of Israel. The Broadcasting Authority remained. Formally it belongs to the government, but it enjoys considerable autonomy.

Then TV came along, and now there are several networks, one of them a public one. It belongs to the same authority.

Netanyahu is very sensitive. He does not like criticism. Neither does his wife, Sarah'le. The Royal couple wondered how to silence the impertinent voices and hit upon a remedy: abolish the authority and create a corporation. By this simple stratagem, they could get rid of all the old hands (and mouths) they detest.

So it was decided, laws were enacted, a budget was adopted, new personnel were hired.

BUT THEN Netanyahu -- or his wife -- woke up one night and asked: Hey, what are we doing?

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Who will tell all these good corporation people what to broadcast and what not?

The new corporation was modeled on the much admired BBC -- the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC enjoys a lot of independence. Do we really want a corporation that ignores the wishes of the Prime Minister? Worse, the wishes of his wife?

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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