Israel Broadcast Strike Boosts Proposed Second Tv Network

The strike by Israel Broadcast Authority journalists which has blacked out radio and television for eight days has given an unexpected boost to the proposed commercial TV network, known officially as the second channel.

Although the Knesset is still debating the legislation necessary to establish it, permission has been granted a private television production company in Jerusalem for live coverage of the arrival of Ida Nudel at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday night.

The longtime refusenik, who has just received the exit visa for which she first applied in 1972, is expected to arrive from Moscow in the private jet of American industrialist Armand Hammer.

Special permission was also granted Tuesday night for a series of “experimental broadcasts” on the private channel. They will include nightly one-hour films, under arrangements made with the Cinema Owners Association.

Until now, the Communications Ministry’s engineering department has been moving slowly in the direction of a second channel. During the past year it has screened still photographs for short periods each evening.

The purpose is to stake formal claim to Channel 22 on the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band to prevent its pre-emption by Egypt or other neighboring Arab states. It has also been broadcasting reruns of shows from Israel Television and Educational Television.

Meanwhile, no progress seems to have been made in settling the broadcasters’ strike. Radio and television journalists are demanding the same pay scale as print journalists. Although they are members of the Journalists Association, they receive lower salaries than their newspaper colleagues because they are employed by the IBA, a government agency, and are classified as civil servants. The Finance Ministry refuses to consider wage increases for any single branch of public sector workers, and the IBA management says its hands are tied.

In other strike news, Tel Aviv garbage collectors ended a weeklong work stoppage Tuesday, only to resume it on Wednesday because of a dispute between garbage truck drivers and the municipality over pay and working conditions. Refuse which was partially removed Tuesday is again festering on Tel Aviv streets.

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