Veteran Israeli journalist quits for fear new government would curtail free speech

After more than 30 years, Rina Matzliach — one of Israel’s most renowned journalists — announces retirement; 'The profession that was the love of my life has been colored in shades of pain'

Ran Boker|
After an illustrious career spanning over 30 years, Channel 12's Rina Matzliach, one of Israel's most renowned journalists, announced her retirement on Sunday, citing fears the incoming right-wing government would curtail freedom of speech as the reason for her departure.
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  • "I've been a journalist for 40 years now, fixed to my pager and then text messages, WhatsApp and Twitter. Throughout my entire adult life, I haven't done anything besides be a journalist," she wrote in her retirement letter as she was set to leave Israel's leading commercial broadcaster.
    3 View gallery
    רינה מצליח
    רינה מצליח
    Rina Matzliach
    (Photo: Screenshot from Channel 12)
    "For many years, this occupation defined me and I enjoyed every minute. I reported from Paris and even from Rome, from Hebron and from Ramallah, from Rabat and Amman, from Cairo and also from Tunisia," Matzliach continued. "I was in Jenin and in Nablus, I was the first Israeli journalist to visit Petra.
    I accomplished dreams that I didn't dare think would come true. I shattered countless glass ceilings. But that's it, the time has come to say goodbye. I feel like I need rest. I'm tired, and maybe most of the field I cover: politics. I no longer get excited to come to the Knesset and I don't really get excited to interview another minister and another MK. For about two years, I was the target of harsh personal attacks. I thought I got over it. I didn't let death threats startle me, and I deleted thousands of hate messages off my phone, which were also addressed to my beloved parents. But over time, I realized that a deep scar still remained."
    Matzliach claimed the death threats against her were egged on by political actors. The journalist said she never gave up on expressing her opinion, but now something in her has "broken."
    3 View gallery
    Former finance Moshe Kachlon and Rina Matzliach
    Former finance Moshe Kachlon and Rina Matzliach
    Former finance Moshe Kachlon and Rina Matzliach
    (Photo: Haim David)
    "The profession that was the love of my life has been colored in shades of pain. My passion drifted elsewhere," she said.
    Matzliach shared that she is busy with a new project, and looking for investors to launch a radio station called Nostalgia, which would only play oldies.
    Nonetheless, Matzliach said bidding adieu to journalism was not easy for her after all these years. "It's hard to leave the news company which I helped found," she added.
    "Many probably do not remember that 30 years ago, most of the public, including the local industry, did not believe that a commercial channel stood a chance in Israel. Friends warned me that soon I will be unemployed for making the mistake of my life... since then, we became the biggest and most important news broadcasters in the country and I feel so much pride.
    3 View gallery
    Rina Matzliachin in the beginning of her career
    Rina Matzliachin in the beginning of her career
    Rina Matzliachin in the beginning of her career
    (Courtesy of commercial television channel)
    So why am I worried? I have learned in recent years that there are two political blocs in Israel. One that wants to actively hurt journalism and freedom of speech, and the second that is in the best case scenario 'not dealing with it' and in the worst case scenario trying to silence journalists from the opposing bloc. So your profession, my dear friends, is journalism - but your mission is to preserve freedom of the press and freedom of expression."
    Matzliach's inner circle said that she has yet to decide what she'll do following her departure, but rumors surface Matzliach will pursue acting roles.
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