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Israel To Launch English/Arabic Channel?

Israel’s Parliament (Knesset) has postponed a vote which may lead to the launch of a 24-hour international satellite channel broadcasting in English and Arabic.

A proposal for the new channel was put in front of Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday June 26. But the Committee has put the vote back by a month to give it more time to gather information.

The bill, which has the support of PM Binyamin Netanyahu, was submitted by Nachman Shai, a former chairman of the Israel Broadcasting Authority who is now a member of the Knesset. Shai said: “Israel is the only country in the region that does not have an Arabic TV station, while our residents are exposed to what is broadcast from countries around us. Not speaking to the countries in the region in Arabic and English encourages the isolation of Israel and hostility toward the country.”

If the Committee eventually votes in favour, the government would be required to give its approval then get the satellite service up and running by early 2012.

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