Menachem Ben
Menachem Ben Photo by Daniel Tchetchik
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Columnist Menachem Ben will not be co-hosting the "Seder Yom" radio program on Tuesday, and it looks like his time on the program has come to an end.

Ben confirmed to Haaretz that he has not been invited back to host the Reshet Bet program on Tuesday. Last week, the Israel Broadcast Authority's announced that a co-host would join Keren Neubach on the popular morning program, in order to act as a counterweight to her outspoken views. On Sunday and Monday, Ben co-hosted with Neubach.

Neubach is a journalist known for her critical social commentary. Ben, who lives in the West Bank, is also known for expressing his strong opinions. Last year he was fired from his job as a co-host on a Channel Two program after he said that he would promote legislation against homosexual acts.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University who writes for the Makor Rishon newspaper and recently became a member of the Habayit Hayehudi party, will co-host the program this morning.

"My guess is that this matter is over, and I look at it as a great adventure," Ben said. "Nobody from the IBA has spoken to me, and I understand that the authority is having difficulties [with my participation] due to public protests, as well as protests by the IBA ethics committee."

Ben went on to acknowledge that his performance on the program was considered "problematic," in that he took liberties and strongly criticized Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud government. "So they don't know what to do," he said, referring to his would-be bosses.

On Monday, Ben lost his temper with the Seder Yom production crew, and insisted that he did not receive sufficient air time. During one commercial break, Ben told Neubach that if she finds it impossible to sit next to him, she should "do the right thing and leave the studio."

Ben said that "fundamentally, this is not Keren Neubach's private program. This is a prime time radio program, and the high rating she receives does not mean that the program's quality is as high as it can be. It is a good program, and I definitely think that it can get better."

The IBA's governing council is expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss the decision to find a presenter who will balance Neubach's critical commentary. Members of the council expressed concern on Monday that procedure wasn't followed when Ben was asked to co-host, since they were not informed about that decision.

Some 20 social activists and journalists staged a demonstration on Monday outside the Israel Radio studios in Tel Aviv, to protest the IBA's decision to hire Ben as a counterweight to Neubach. Ben went outside to discuss the controversy with the protesters, who insisted that his inclusion is designed to "destroy the program." He accused the protesters of being "brainwashed, like North Koreans."