Middle East

Israel profile - Media

Newspaper reader in Israel Image copyright AFP
Image caption Israel has a variety of newspapers, many of which are available online

Israel's press and broadcasters are many and varied, reflecting differences in language, political viewpoint and religious outlook.

TV is the leading medium and commercial networks top the ratings. Public broadcasting saw a major change in 2017, when the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) ended more than 50 years of operations and was replaced by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC).

The IPBC was intended to be more efficient, employing fewer staff than the IBA and outsourcing production.

The most popular commercial TV is Channel 2. It too saw a big change in 2017, with its two franchisees Keshet and Reshet now airing as separate networks.

Most households subscribe to cable or satellite. Yes satellite TV and the HOT cable network are the main providers.

Radio is an important news source. The sector comprises public stations run by the IPBC, two networks run by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), and more than a dozen commercial outlets.

The press scene is very competitive, although there is an ongoing decline in print readership as online media take an increasingly large share of the market. Yisrael Hayom, a freesheet, and Yediot Aharonot are the top print dailies.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (World Press Freedom Index, 2017) says the media are "free to be outspoken, which is rare in the Middle East".

It says this is tempered by "military censorship" and that the army "often violates the rights" of Palestinian and foreign journalists, especially when they cover demonstrations.

Freedom House says the media "are vibrant and free to criticise government policy". But it says diversity and editorial independence have been threatened by "financial difficulties in the industry".

Israel has a large IT industry and one of the world's most technologically-literate populations. Around 6.6 million people had internet access by mid-2017, comprising around 80 per cent of the population (InternetWorldStats).

A 2016 survey found that YouTube is the most popular social media platform, followed by messaging service WhatsApp and Facebook. Ynet is the leading Hebrew-language news site.

The press

  • Yediot Aharonot (Latest News) - Tel Aviv-based, widely-read daily
  • Israel Hayom (Israel Today) - Tel Aviv-based, free-of-charge, large-circulation daily
  • Haaretz (The Land/The Country) - Tel Aviv-based daily
  • Jerusalem Post - English-language daily
  • Maariv (Evening Paper) - Tel Aviv-based daily
  • Globes - business daily

Television

Radio

  • Kan - public, networks include main Hebrew station Kan Bet and Arabic-language Kan Mikan
  • Galei Zahal - Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Radio, broadcasts news and music to a mostly-civilian audience; also operates music and traffic news network Galgalatz