Israeli Public, Likud Members Both Want Channel 10 to Stay Open, Polls Find

Survey sponsored by struggling broadcaster indicates Israelis hope it stays on the air.

Both the general public and Likud members in particular favor keeping Channel 10 open, according to two public opinion polls conducted by the embattled television station this week.

The Likud survey was meant to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the finance and communications ministers, that their party wants Channel 10 to survive.

Channel 10 has NIS 60 million in debts, and its directors say this could lead to its closure. In January, the channel's franchise expires, and as things stand, it won't meet the requirements for a permanent broadcasting license.

According to the survey, one of the main reasons people want the station to survive is that it is one of the free channels available via the Idan Plus digital cable converter.

Both surveys, carried out by the Ma'agar Mochot Survey Institute headed by Prof. Yitzhak Katz, found sweeping sympathy for the dying channel.

Asked whether they supported Channel 10, 56 percent of respondents from among the general public and 49 percent of Likud members said yes. The rival Channel 2 was only slightly more popular, with 59 percent of the general public and 55 percent of Likud members saying they supported that station.

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of both the general public and Likud members (79 and 70 percent, respectively ) supports an installment plan to enable the station to pay its debts while continuing to broadcast.

Earlier this week, Channel 10's board of directors suspended dismissal notices that had been sent to 150 workers, at the request of Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer Eini, who wants to prevent the channel's closure.