Minister Gamliel: Regev's Desire to Control New Public Broadcaster 'Borders on Fascism'

'We should keep in mind that we are a democratic state,' Gila Gamliel says, referring to Minister Regev's remarks during a heated debate in cabinet over the establishment of a new broadcasting corporation.

Likud MK Gila Gamliel walking past a projection of the Israeli flag.
Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel. Marc Israel Sellem

Minister Gila Gamliel said on Monday that some of the remarks voiced by ministers during a stormy cabinet meeting on the establishment of a new public broadcaster on Sunday were "bordering on fascism."

Gamliel, a member of the Likud, was referring mainly to Minister Miri Regev, who during the meeting questioned the point of establishing a new broadcasting corporation if it would not be controlled by the government.

"I don't want to get… personal, but some of the statements yesterday were bordering on fascism, no doubt," Social Equality Minister Gamliel told Army Radio after she was asked whether she was embarrassed by Regev's remarks. "We should keep in mind that we are a democratic state and that this is the first and foremost element that outlines our overall conduct," she added.

In its weekly meeting, the cabinet discussed an amendment to the Public Broadcasting Law, which was approved after a heated debate between ministers, several of whom abstained from the vote.

Sources who attended the meeting said the arguments deteriorated into a shouting match between Ministers Regev and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, both of Likud. Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) clashed with Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), and all four of them fought with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue.

Regev was angry that the cabinet would have no authority to intervene in the senior appointments in the new broadcasting corporation. “It’s inconceivable that we’ll establish a corporation that we won’t control. What’s the point?” Regev said, to which Erdan replied: “Do you control every play at the Habima National Theater or any theater that receives funding from the government?”

Gamliel also attacked Regev during the meeting, noting that the fact that the government is establishing a public broadcasting corporation does not mean it will have control over professional appointments or content being broadcast. People who participated in the meeting said Netanyahu tried several times to interrupt Erdan and Gamliel, until the two protested that he wasn’t letting them talk.