IBA’s Close Up feeds news jones

January 16, 2009 - 1:13 PM by · 4 Comments
Filed under: A New Reality, Politics, Pop Culture, War 

Steve Leibowitz and Leah ZinderEarlier this week, the relatively new free daily nationalist tabloid Yisrael Hayom (Hebrew-only informational website viewable here) reported that mainstream Israeli news websites have been experiencing around a 30% spike in traffic since the start of the current Gaza conflict – hardly a surprise, and hardly a trend relegated to the video-heavy, Hebrew-language outlets cited in their stats.

With the thirst for Zionist-friendly war-related information peaking even among English speakers, the Israel Broadcasting Authority has been wise to initiate the launch of a new English news program called Close Up. Airing Wednesdays at 5:25 PM on the IBA’s Channel 33, the live in-depth weekly analysis magazine Close Up premiered this week with a half hour’s worth of content headed by IBA talking heads Steve Leibowitz and Leah Zinder.

The program joins the growing stable of English-language IBA news reports, which includes the ten-minute weekday News Bulletin and the 20-minute daily IBA News, all of which streams over the web on-demand at the IBA’s video mini-site (like most Israeli websites, works best in the Explorer browser).

For the inaugural episode, Zinder and Leibowitz were joined at the news desk by panelists Effi Eitam, a controversial MK from the hawkish religious National Union, and left-of-center David Horovitz, the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post. Eitam remarked on the high levels of motivation among IDF, proclaiming that “The spirit of confidence will prevail amongst the soldiers, and, I might add, amongst the citizens.” Horovitz commented on pragmatic goals for ceasefire arrangements.

In other segments, Hebrew University’s Dr. Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, spoke about the ethical issues of the war, reporter Leah Stern gave over a timeline for how diplomacy breakdown led to the current battles, and a visit to opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s office yielded a predictably “I told you so”-style statement.


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