With Two Hours Notice, Israel’s Old Newscast Goes Dark

Israel’s oldest news show was yanked off the air on Tuesday after journalists were given just two hours notice that the government was shutting down Channel 1’s nightly news broadcast.

In a teary goodbye, anchor Geula Even announced the ending of the show which had run for 49 years. She was joined In her send-off by staffers who sang the Israeli national anthem, Hatikva, many of them also crying.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority, which runs Channel 1, is being shuttered after years of government deliberation over what to do with the expensive and ageing news organization to make way for a streamlined publicly funded entity called Kan.

Some journalists in the IBA say that Netanyahu targeted the broadcaster because of its critical coverage of him, making its closure a blow to press freedom.

On Wednesday Israel’s parliament is set to vote on measures to allow Kan to go on air next week, and for IBA to simultaneously fully shut down. While hundreds of IBA journalists will be employed at Kan, hundreds more will be out of work.

Senior IBA journalist Yaakov Ahimeir slammed the government on air. “What is this notice, two hours in advance?” he said. “What are we, criminals?”

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @naomizeveloff

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With Two Hours Notice, Israel’s Old Newscast Goes Dark

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