Miki Haimovich
SIGNING OFF: Miki Haimovich in Channel 10’s high-tech news studio last month. Photo by Tali Mayer
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Channel 10 newscaster Miki Haimovich plans to leave her job when her contract expires next July. Haimovich said yesterday she is leaving because of "a sense of exhaustion and fatigue from the news."

Her co-anchor, Yaakov Eilon, will present the news alone, with Channel 10 sources saying there is no intention of placing someone else at his side.

Haimovich, 48, began her television career in 1990 as a presenter of local news with Hevrat Hakvalim, the cable company. Three years later, when Channel 2 was set up, she began presenting its main new bulletin alongside Eilon. In 2002, not long after Eilon left for rival Channel 10's news broadcast, Haimovich announced she would be joining him. Since then, the two have been co-anchors there.

As a news presenter, Haimovich has been considered by the public to be sensitive, humane and gentle. She has also been responsible for documentary projects including "Ima Yekara Li" (Mother is precious to me ), "Al Hamishkal" ( On the scale ) and "Yeladim Bebatim shel Aherim" (Children in the homes of others ). Her most recent project, "Israel's 10," was last November and won the Rachel Primor Prize of the Second Television and Radio Authority. Haimovich initiated, edited and presented the program. She plans to continue making such shows after she steps down.

"This is not a simple decision," Haimovich said. "It's clear to me I'm leaving a warm home in which I felt appreciated, a place that made it possible for me to develop and create far beyond the news," she said yesterday. "After 18 years of presenting the news, without breaks, without seasons as other programs have, I feel that I must take this step."

Haimovich said she has no plans to move over to another program or a rival channel, and that mostly she wants to rest from TV work, at least initially.

"The decision is mine and only mine," she said, "with the support of those close to me. They, are the people who accompanied me during my wavering of the past years, know how wholeheartedly I wanted this. I am leaving because of a sense of emotional exhaustion from dealing daily with difficult news, a feeling of fatigue and a strong desire for freedom and change."

According to Channel 10 sources, the newscaster was asked last year to sign another three-year contract but requested only one more year. Her decision was seen as it was again time to discuss the conditions of her employment.

Not everyone at Channel 10 and in the communications industry takes Haimovich's explanation at face value. The relatively low rating accorded the channel during the recent blaze in the north could be a possible explanation for the exhaustion she has felt. Others mention that her relationship with Eilon is cold, as is her relationship with the management of Hevrat Hahadashot, the news company. These claims have been strongly denied by people close to Haimovich.

Channel 10 said: "We love Miki, who has made a permanent mark on the company and the character of the central news broadcast. We accepted her decision with regret but we respect her wishes and are glad that she will remain part of the Channel 10 news family even after she stops presenting the main news broadcast."