Eurovision 2019 🇮🇱 EBU extends interim membership of KAN following Netanyahu’s decision not to split the broadcaster
Vasil Dimitrov (Bulgaria)
ISRAEL – Following the decision of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to split the Israeli national broadcaster into informative and entertainment broadcasters with different administrations, the European Broadcasting Union announced the extension of KAN’s interim membership until December when the final voting for full membership will take place. In the meantime KAN enjoys all EBU privileges.
The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, doing business as KAN, is an Israeli statutory public corporation founded in 2014, based on the Public Broadcasting Law 2014. It was founded with the intent to replace the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) after the Israeli Public Broadcasting law ordered its closure. Its debut date was postponed several times, due to the Prime Minister’s objections on structure and journalists’ appointments, which led to a legal fight on court between IPBC and the government, which is still ongoing. It started broadcasting on May 15, 2017. The IPBC CEO is Eldad Koblenz and its chairman is Gil Omer.
As the full broadcast launch date of IPBC was supposed to be 30 April 2017, the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 was supposed to be broadcast on IPBC’s Kan 11. However, as the launch date of IPBC was postponed in mid April to 15 May 2017, the broadcast remained with IBA, being its last television production and broadcast.
IPBC’s application for active EBU membership, replacing IBA as the public broadcaster in Israel, is currently being reviewed by the various EBU governing bodies and is pending formal approval, at the EBU’s General Assembly. It was revealed on 6 July 2017 that an agreement had been signed between the EBU and IPBC, allowing the broadcaster to participate in EBU events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest, despite not having full membership.
Israel won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest—the first with IPBC as delegate—and will thus host the 2019 edition. However, the EBU warned that the pending plan to split IPBC’s news department into a separate broadcaster, leaving IPBC responsible for entertainment programming only, creates a conflict with rules which require member broadcasters to handle both news and entertainment programming. On 18 June 2018, as a high court decision on the split was pending, Netanyahu stated that the Israeli government would commit to remaining in compliance with EBU rules, as to not effect its hosting of Eurovision.