Likud MK: Scrapping New Broadcasting Authority Will Save Israel 2bn Shekels

Former communications minister behind initiative says the calculations are incorrect.

MK David Bitan in the Knesset, July 29, 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

Coalition whip David Bitan (Likud) asserted yesterday that closing the planned public broadcasting corporation before it gets off the ground will save the government some 2.13 billion shekels ($550 million).

The estimate came a day after Haaretz reported that an unnamed senior minister was seeking to block creation of the new corporation, which is due to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority with a politically nonpartisan, more efficient operation.

“The money saved could be invested in education, welfare, health and in the periphery,” Bitan said, making a populist appeal for the measure. He presented a document detailing the savings.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also sought to block the new corporation, but Gilan Erdan – who was responsible for the reform when he was communications minister – said Bitan’s figures were erroneous and said the IBA wasted money on salaries and perks rather than on quality programming.