JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled early Sunday morning to Beijing for an official visit amid a political crisis with his coalition partners over the establishment of the new public broadcaster.
The crisis, during which Netanyahu threatened to dissolve the government, broke out over the weekend due to the premier’s refusal to launch the Israel Broadcasting Corporation on April 30, as scheduled.
“It was explicitly determined that all parties are obligated to decisions made by Likud (Netanyahu’s party), the subject of communications, including the closure of the corporation,” Netanyahu said before he boarded a plane to Beijing, according to Israeli media outlets.
The Israeli prime minister is visiting China to celebrate 25 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, and to participate in the third joint innovation conference.
The IBC was created two years ago and was due to replace the Israeli Broadcasting Authority in April, although the prime minister claimed the cost of operating the new network would be greater than that of the old one.
Initially, Netanyahu supported the establishment of the IBC, but changed his opinion last year and delayed its launch date.