The Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry announced that veteran journalist Nitzan Chen began work Sunday as the new director of the Government Press Office.

Chen took over the job from Oren Helman, who left in December 2011 after less than two years in the position, to become a senior vice president at the Israel Electric Corporation.

The GPO is responsible for dealing with foreign journalists, issuing official press cards to media employees in Israel, coordinating media coverage for state events and official visits and managing the national photo collection.

Chen served recently as chairman of the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, and before that accumulated 20 years of experience as a broadcast journalist with Channel 1, serving as a parliamentary correspondent, editor and settlements reporter.

One of the most memorable public moments involving Chen was in March 1999, when Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef kicked him out of a press conference at Arye Deri’s house because he started to ask a question about Deri’s bribery and breach of trust convictions.

Yosef instructed Deri not to answer, accused Chen of asking hostile questions and ordered him – all during a live broadcast – to “go outside.”

Chen later co-authored a biography of Yosef in 2004 along with Anshel Pfeffer.

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