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Netanyahu gains victory in battle over public broadcasting

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon found himself isolated this week when he misjudged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's control over his coalition in the fight over launching Israel's Public Broadcasting Corporation.
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For several weeks now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon have locked horns over the launching of the Public Broadcasting Corporation, designed to replace the bankrupt Israel Broadcasting Authority. And while the fourth Netanyahu government was being rocked by the issue, the Knesset's Finance Committee convened on March 27 for a special recess session. Signs have been growing that the crisis between Netanyahu and Kahlon is deepening. Netanyahu had continued to insist that the corporation be stopped, whereas Kahlon, having promised that the corporation would begin operations on April 30 as stipulated by law, kept signaling that he had no intention of giving in.

At the committee meeting, Knesset member Moshe Gafni of the ultra-Orthodox Yahadut HaTorah came out with the surprising announcement that his party was not averse to moving up the elections scheduled for 2019. Only the day before, the heads of the ultra-Orthodox parties had been quoted as telling Netanyahu that they would not go along with early elections, and now Gafni was singing a different tune. “I would like to announce that we are not opposed to elections … we believe that for a state like ours, facing such big challenges and difficult problems, to go to elections over the issue of public broadcasting is an irresponsible act … [but] we are the last ones to fear elections.”

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