Knesset gives initial OK to strip new public broadcaster of news division

The Knesset approves in its first reading legislation that will restructure the new public broadcasting corporation, implementing a March compromise reached by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to dismantle its news division.

Furious with the coalition’s choice to call a highly unusual special recess evening session, the opposition boycotted the vote, allowing it to pass by 32-0. Netanyahu was one of the coalition MKs in attendance.

MKs also voted to establish a special committee, headed by coalition chair David Bitan, in order to deal with the legislation.

The deal reached by Netanyahu and Kahlon stripped the new broadcaster, formally called “Kan” and widely known as HaTa’agid (the corporation), of its news division and created a separate news entity in its stead, largely made up of staffers from the old Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Kan was set to begin transmission at the end of April but last week lawmakers delayed its opening until mid-May in order to allow the new legislation to pass. From Sunday, MKs will hold a marathon committee talks in an attempt to finalize the new legislation by next Wednesday.

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