Incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party he leads are considering the possibility of defunding the news division of Israel’s public broadcaster, KAN News, according to an unconfirmed report Sunday by Israel’s Channel 12 News.
The network’s drama and documentary divisions would remain intact, according to the report.
Likud said in a statement responding to the report, however, that the issue “did not come up in the negotiations.”
This is not the first time the state-funded station has faced a threat to its funding. In 2017, KAN became the successor to the decades-old Israel Broadcasting Authority after a long court struggle. Then-Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded at the time that the station be closed altogether but faced objections from then-Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
“If the channel is a good channel whose content the public wants to see and hear, it can manage even without public funding,” Likud MK Shlomo Karhi said Monday in an interview with Galei Tzahal Army Radio but noting that he had not heard about any such plan.
“There is no reason to keep funding a public broadcaster for almost a billion shekels a year,” he said.
“The public shouldn’t fund one particular channel. There should not be ‘public broadcasting.’