Lieberman Reneges: Army Radio to Stay With IDF

Cites ‘implications and difficulties of transferring the station’ to Defense Ministry ‘given the body’s independence.’

An Army Radio studio in Jaffa.
David Bachar

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced on Sunday morning that he is reneging on his announced intention to transfer Army Radio from the Israel Defense Forces to the Defense Ministry.

According to the ministry’s statement, Lieberman and Defense Ministry director general Udi Adam held consultations on Sunday with Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, during which they discussed “the various possibilities regarding the placement of Army Radio within the security system, and the implications and difficulties that the intention to transfer the station from the Israel Defense Forces to the Defense Ministry will produce, in terms of the station’s non-dependence and independence as a public broadcaster, the complex procedure of the station’s absorption into the Defense Ministry, and the need first to legislate for the move.”

The ministry stated: “In light of these difficulties and with the will to preserve Army Radio’s unique character, the defense minister decided that the station will remain in its present place in the Israel Defense Forces.”

At the end of last month Lieberman had announced his plan to transfer the station after Adam, the director general, recommended doing so following months of administrative work. Lieberman announced this decision after having long maintained in interviews with the media that he “does not remember” Adam’s conclusions regarding the station’s status.

Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and former head of the IDF’s manpower directorate Maj. Gen Hagai Topolansky voiced support in the past for closing the station or alternatively transferring responsibility from the military to the Defense Ministry.

Prior to this decision, the IDF cut staff at Army Radio as part of a broad cutback.