Kol Israel (Voice of Israel) operates eight radio networks which offer programming in 17 languages, ranging from light entertainment and popular music to academic lectures, panel discussions, and classical music, each geared to a different audience, from children to seniors, from newcomers to veteran Israelis. Galei Tzahal and Galgalatz (stations of the Israel Defense Forces) broadcast around the clock, featuring news and music as well as programs of special interest to soldiers. Multilingual, short-wave transmissions for listeners abroad provide a constant and reliable source of information about Israel, the Middle East and Jewish affairs.
Television began in Israel in 1967; today two state-run channels offer educational, information, and entertainment programming in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. One local commercial channel, inaugurated in 1994, is divided among three private producers, with certain hours reserved daily for educational programs. Cable television, funded by monthly subscription fees, is available in most of the country, making it possible to receive dozens of American, European, Asian and Middle Eastern networks. Independent Israeli cable channels present sports, children's features, movies, and documentaries on a wide range of topics.
Kol Israel and the state-run television channel operate under the aegis of the Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA), which is subject to the IBA Law (1965) defining broadcasting as an independent government service, charged with giving expression to diverse perspectives. The IBA is headed by an executive committee, appointed by the government for a three-year term, and by a director-general, appointed for a five-year term. IBA broadcasting is financed by advertising on radio, public service announcements, and an annual fee paid by consumers.