Minister's IBA Nominee Withdraws

Amnon Dick, who was nominated by Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) to be the next chairman of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, has withdrawn his candidacy, citing "incomprehensible delays" in the confirmation process.

Dick's nomination has not been approved by the cabinet, even though it has been five months since Edelstein, who is responsible for the broadcast authority, announced the nomination.

According to sources close to Edelstein, he is weighing stepping down as the minister in charge of the IBA, which operates Channel 1.

Media sources blame the delay on involvement by the prime minister's office and at the very least on Edelstein's inability to advance his own plans.

Two months becomes five

When Dick was nominated, Edelstein's office said he was expected to be confirmed within two months, but the appointment has yet to be considered by the cabinet.

Various sources say Edelstein was summoned to the prime minister's office last week, where he was told that Dick would not be appointed.

In withdrawing his candidacy, Dick said he was assured the delay was not the result of his qualifications.

"The situation at the authority is bad, to put it mildly," he added, "and if it had been operating in the business sector, it would have been long bankrupt or in receivership."

The prime minister's office said in response that it is not involved in the matter.

Meanwhile, Edelstein received a letter of protest yesterday from a coalition representing television and film producers and directors, in which they oppose a bill he proposed that would allow him to extend the period during which the IBA is virtually exempt from investing in productions by people outside the IBA.

The letter demands the closure of the IBA as it is currently constituted.

Edelstein said in response that the amendment involves an extension of an existing law.

"If the broadcasting authority were to be closed, it would never again be reopened. In such an event, those that would primarily suffer would be the citizens of Israel and first and foremost the creators and producers," he added.