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(photo credit: Hot 3)
HE MANAGED to offend Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, to amuse Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and to enrage Israel's enemies by ridiculing their leaders through his impersonations.
But for the foreseeable future, master mimic Eli Yatzpan will be neither annoying nor amusing - at least not on screen. As far as Channel 3 is concerned, Yatzpan's brand of humor may now be pass .
True, his impersonation of Amir Peretz was so good that he was invited to perform at a Histadrut convention in Eilat with Peretz in attendance. But in a country where everything changes so quickly, the man who has become an old familiar face on television is not as likely to boost ratings as someone younger. After seven seasons, Yatzpan has been quoted as saying that he has given all he had to give and needs a rest.
Whatever the reason for his departure, the man whose humor made a nation laugh in its darkest hours is taking time out to re-evaluate and possibly revamp his act.
HEAD OF the Channel 2 News Corporation, Shalom Kittal, has achieved yet another triumph. The News Corporation, which for the past two years has been operating the Knesset News Channel, will continue to do so after submitting a winning tender to the Cable and Satellite Television Council. For Kittal, who many years ago was the Knesset reporter for Israel Radio, this is yet another feather in his cap. The Channel Two News Corporation beat out Democratic Broadcasts, JCS and the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
MEANWHILE AT the IBA, staff are preparing to bid goodbye to interim director-general Yair Aloni, who was at the helm for a much longer period than anyone anticipated, serving more than a year in the post. Aloni was on hand towards the end of last month for the B'nai B'rith World Center Journalism Awards, in which both the prize and the honorary mention went to IBA broadcasters, Yaron Dekel, IBA's Washington Bureau Chief, and Elihu Ben-Onn, host of The Israel Connection on Israel Radio. In their acceptance speeches, both Dekel and Ben-Onn said that they would not be able to do what they do without the backing of Aloni.
Soon after taking over as interim director-general, following the ouster of Yosef Barel by Ehud Olmert (who was then the government minister responsible for the Broadcasting Authority), Aloni resisted a campaign to fire Haim Yavin, one of the pioneers of Israel Television. The irony is that Aloni will probably retire from the IBA once his successor Moti Sklaar takes over, whereas Yavin, 73, who is widely known as Mr. Television, will continue to present the news.
AMONG THE celebrities due to arrive in Israel within the next few weeks is androgynous British crooner, DJ and fashion designer, Boy George, 44, who is scheduled to attend a showing in Herzliya of some of the fashion creations from his latest collection. But first he has to complete a five day stint as a sanitation worker in New York. This was the sentence imposed on him by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Anthony Ferrera after Boy George filed a bogus report of a burglary in his apartment last October. Police found no signs of an intruder. But they did find several bags of cocaine on a table alongside his computer.