Kafe Knesset for May 10

Mabat’s unexpected finale: James Comey was not the only one who received a surprise dismissal notice on Tuesday. Last night, less than an hour before the Israel Broadcast Authority’s nightly TV news program Mabat was set to go on the air, its workers found out that the broadcast was going to be the finale for the show that has been on the air since 1968. In a Knesset meeting working on the public broadcast reform – final vote is tonight – David Hahn, who is responsible for dismantling the IBA, announced it would stop regular TV and radio broadcasts and most of its workers would be going home immediately. The IBA workers thought they would have until Monday, when the Israel Broadcast Corporation is supposed to take the IBA’s place, so they were stunned. Veteran anchor Geula Even-Sa’ar was hosting the news magazine before Mabat when the news came in and broke down in tears; the program had to switch to a pre-recorded segment. During Mabat, almost every reporter had something to say, and the broadcast ended with the journalists and crew singing “Hatikvah.” The general consensus was that the way the IBA was shut down, at the last minute with no warning, was cruel. So much so, that the Prime Minister’s Office sent out a clarification that Netanyahu had nothing to do with the “undignified and disrespectful” way that it was done, only found out about it from the media, and that the PM did not have the authority to change it. “The prime minister was the one who fought so that the news division of Channel 1 will continue to broadcast and that as many of its workers as possible will be absorbed into the new media body,” the statement read.

Is Trump an Israel newbie or not? Back in 2015, when the Trump campaign was considering a trip to Israel, a member of his team told Kafe Knesset that he had never been to Israel before, but that they weren’t making a big deal about it. Naturally, that detail was in JPost’s coverage of the planned trip, which never ended up happening. Recently, Ha’aretz reported that Trump had been in Israel in 1989, based on Foreign Ministry documents, including an invitation to the then-mogul and an itinerary. However, Times of Israel’s Raphael Ahrens tracked down nearly everyone who was supposed to have had something to do with the trip, and not one of them remembered Trump actually visiting Israel. Some had met him in New York, but not in Israel. It seems pretty safe to say that Trump’s upcoming trip to Israel will be his first.

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