Few people outside Israel know that the country’s most popular radio station, by far, the station preferred by young and old, day workers and intellectuals is “Galatz” – an acronym for Galay Tzahal or IDF [radio] Waves.
As MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beitenu) put it this week in a Knesset Economics Committee meeting discussing changes in the law governing the station’s operation: “Every time there’s a military coup anywhere, the army rushes, first of all, to take over the radio station – but in Israel there’s no need for that, because here the Army already owns the most popular civilian station in the country…”
Feiglin, who spoke during a discussion of a bill designed to allow IDF Radio to sell advertising, freely admitted that “the IDF Radio frequency is my own cultural frequency, and as a right-wing politician I’m more comfortable being interviewed by a leftist interviewer.”
On his Facebook page, MK Feiglin mentioned the coup in Egypt, where the Army closed down the Islamist channels on Wednesday:
“I did not know that within two days [of the committee meeting] we’d see a military coup taking over our neighbor to the south. The IDF—thank God—is not the Egyptian Army, but a reality in which the army has a hold on the civilian consciousness is patently undemocratic—yet no one has the courage to deal with it. Why not also start the IDF TV channel? We’ve become an army that has a state, rather than a state that has an army, which is not a good thing!”
MK Feiglin, who believes Israel should turn the IDF into a U.S. style professional, volunteer army, said at the committee meeting that Israeli radio stations are suffering an unfair competition with IDF Radio. He also objected to the centralized rules by which Israeli radio stations are bidding for a concession in order to operate, rather than going through a simple licensing process, pay a fee and start broadcasting. He advocated turning the station into civilian hands.
The video of Feiglin’s committee appearance is all in Hebrew. But you should watch it just to experience how nowhere in Israel can a conversation go anywhere, because everybody has to add their five cents’ worth all the time. It took Feiglin almost 9 minutes to get through one and a half ideas. Israelis don’t debate, they schmooze.