The CEO of Channel 10's news division, Reudor Benziman, resigned last night in the wake of an agreement reached between the television station and Sheldon Adelson over a critical profile of the U.S. billionaire broadcast in January by the division.
"As CEO and editor in chief of the news division, I cannot live with the outcome [of the agreement] and unfortunately I see no option but to tender my resignation," Benziman said.
According to figures at Channel 10, the program led to the blatant interference by shareholders in the editorial content of the news division.
Sources at the station say the future at Channel 10 of other figures involved in preparing the report is uncertain. The report looked a Adelson's conduct and business dealings.
The 20-minute profile of the casino magnate Adelson, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was written by Avner Hofstein and aired on the Friday night news program "Hashavua." One knowledgeable source at the station told Haaretz last night that about two months ago, Adelson's lawyers threatened to sue the station if it did not issue an apology, setting in motion the negotiations leading to the compromise agreement.
Channel 10 is owned by Yossi Maiman, Arnon Milchan and Ron Lauder. Lauder, a U.S. businessman, politician and Jewish community leader who is heir to the Estee Lauder fortune, is also considered a Netanyahu crony.
Officials at the station said that over the past several weeks the demand for an apology led to a rift between the shareholders and figures at Channel 10. After Adelson rejected a draft apology written by station employees, a more pronounced apology was hammered out, with pressure from the shareholders.
A spokesman for Maiman said in a response that the businessman was studying the details of Benziman's resignation.
Meanwhile, the Second Television and Radio Authority, which oversees Channel 10, said in a statement that Eli Alaluf, CEO of a private family fund, the Rashi Foundation, has resigned as representative of the public on the board of the authority, a position he had held for about two years. Alaluf said he resigned following the appointment of a new chairman to the board.
Benziman, 54, was appointed head of Channel 10's news division in February 2008. In February of this year his appointment was extended indefinitely. During his tenure the broadcast studio and the main news broadcast underwent radical changes and a number of significant programming changes were introduced.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now