Kirschenbaum, Mordechai

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KIRSCHENBAUM, MORDECHAI (Motti ; 1939– ), Israeli television producer and broadcaster. A graduate of the University of California in theater, cinema, and television, Kirschenbaum was among the founders of Israeli television. Producer in the 1970s of a hugely popular weekly satirical show calledNiku'i Rosh ("Cleaning the Head"), in 1976 he won the Israel Prize for radio, film, and television arts. The program was not without its critics and was subject to political pressure. Kirschenbaum's tenure as head of Hebrew programming at Israel Television, including the drama department, was not renewed in 1979 by Tommy *Lapid, the Likud-appointed Broadcasting Authority director-general. In 1993 he was appointed the Authority's director-general by Shulamit *Aloni, the Meretz communications minister. Kirschenbaum's period as director-general, until 1998, was characterized by strict impartiality in editorial decision-making, despite his generally leftist outlook, as well as protection of broadcasters from political pressure. Yet he failed in financial management, and the Broadcasting Authority ran into a heavy deficit. Moreover, ratings dropped with the creation of a second, privately run and more commercially oriented second channel (Channel 2). In 2001 Kirschenbaum headed the television production company that won the tender for Channel 10 television, another commercial station. Subsequently he also co-hosted Channel 10's popular and free-wheeling London and Kirschenbaum talk show with Yaron London.

[Yoel Cohen (2nd ed.)]