Executive With Ties to Netanyahu Is to Join Army Radio Supervisory Body

Campaign ads for Eretz Chadasha dubbed Yoav Horowitz PM's 'operations officer' for organizing reservist protests after 2006 Lebanon war.

Yoav Horowitz, a member of the Israel Broadcasting Authority's executive board, will be appointed to the committee overseeing Army Radio broadcasts.

Horowitz is the CEO of Kardan Vehicle, the Israeli licensee of Avis. He is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was a senior member of his 2006 primary election team. Horowitz was appointed to the IBA board in 2011.

In several campaign ads by Eretz Chadasha head and candidate Eldad Yaniv for the January 2013 general election, Horowitz was called Netanyahu's "operations officer" for organizing demonstrations by army reservists after the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Although the Israel Broadcasting Authority Law empowers the IBA to supervise Army Radio broadcasts, for years this article was not enforced. IBA chairman Amir Gilat recently reached agreement with Army Radio head Yaron Dekel over supervision of the station's nonmilitary broadcasts, including current events. Horowitz's appointment to the Army Radio panel will increase the committee's membership from four to five.

When Horowitz was appointed to the IBA board, he signed a conflict of interest agreement, promising not to deal with issues of religion and Jewish heritage on the radio, nor with advertising, due to Karden's holdings in Radio Kol Chai, a radio station for the ultra-Orthodox and Zionist religious communities. A legal opinion obtained by Horowitz enabled his appointment to the Army Radio committee.

"I helped Netanyahu in a professional role, not a political role, in the 2006 primary," Horowitz says, adding, "I have never been a Likud member. [Netanyahu and I] have a connection that goes back to the army, I am proud of this acquaintance and honored that he's my prime minister. Our acquaintance has never affected my decisions. I give of my time and managerial experience to public broadcasting."

The IBA responded: "The Army Radio committee now comprises a limited number of members. To expand it, the chairman approached all the members of the IBA plenum at the beginning of May asking them to join and Horowitz accepted the invitation. The legal bureau determined that there is nothing to prevent his membership on the Army Radio committee."

Ofer Vaknin