Grapevine: Public broadcasting returns to Jerusalem

After three years broadcasting from Modi'in, Public Broadcasting broadcast the 6am news from Jerusalem on Sunday.

With the new Givat Shaul location, there will be less hassle about broadcasting staff travelling to and from the studios on Shabbat. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
With the new Givat Shaul location, there will be less hassle about broadcasting staff travelling to and from the studios on Shabbat.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
■ THE GOOD news is that Public Broadcasting has returned to Jerusalem. Last Sunday, Vered Yiftachi Green, who was on roster to read the early morning headlines between 5 and 6 a.m., said that after almost three years in exile in Modi’in, public broadcasting had returned to Jerusalem. Ofer Nachshon, who broadcast the 6 a.m. news immediately afterwards, announced that this was the Voice of Israel from Jerusalem. Curiously, early morning current affairs anchor Arieh Golan, who lives in Jerusalem, broadcast on Sunday from the KAN studios in Tel Aviv, and announced that he would be doing so for two weeks, which means that he will be back in Jerusalem to review the election results.
With the demise of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the closure of its radio and television studio in Romema, Nir Barkat, who was then mayor of Jerusalem, fought tooth and nail to ensure that Public Broadcasting would remain in the capital, and worked with the powers-that-be at KAN to find suitable premises in Jerusalem. It took a long time, but premises were eventually found in a new building under construction in Givat Shaul, a location that makes entry to and exit from the city easier than from Romema, though curiously, both Romema and Givat Shaul are predominantly haredi neighborhoods.
But there will be less hassle about broadcasting staff traveling to and from the studios on Shabbat, because unlike the Romema studios, those in Givat Shaul are in a commercial section and not in a residential neighborhood.
■ JERUSALEM ALSO had good news toward the end of last week when Hapoel Jerusalem won the State basketball cup, defeating Nahariya Ironi 92-89 in a nail-biting finale that had fans of both sides sitting on the edge of their seats. It was a particularly exciting match for President Reuven Rivlin, the chief advocate for Jerusalem as the city closest to heaven. He often tells overseas visitors that from Jerusalem they can make a local phone call to God. Although his favorite sport is soccer, Rivlin had no problem getting into the spirit of basketball, especially during the last five minutes of the game. This was Hapoel’s third State Cup victory. The first was in 2015 when it defeated Hapoel Eilat and the second in 2017 when it defeated Maccabi Haifa.
Rivlin, who was sitting with Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, happily presented the trophy to Hapoel Jerusalem, but commended both teams for a closely fought game.
■ FORMER NEW York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who appears to have a good chance of emerging as the Democratic candidate in America’s presidential elections, has strong ties to Jerusalem, and in the event of his becoming the first Jewish president of the United States, would be unlikely to once again relocate the embassy and return it to Tel Aviv. He has honored the memories of both his parents with substantial donations to Magen David Adom headquarters in Jerusalem in honor of his father and to Hadassah Medical Center Mother and Child Center in honor of his mother.
He has visited Jerusalem several times and in May 2014 came to the capital as the inaugural recipient of the $1 million Genesis Prize, which he used for social welfare projects in addition to generous donations from his own pocket.
■ BEGINNING ON Sunday, February 23, the Herzl Center is hosting a lecture series aimed at taking a fresh look at Theodor Herzl’s utopian novel Altneuland, in which he outlined his vision of a modern Jewish, pluralistic and social democratic state in which Jews and Arabs would have equal rights. If Herzl had not been a journalist, it’s quite possible that there would not be a State of Israel today. There was never a time in which there were no Jews in the Holy Land, but mass migration did not really begin until after the Second World War when Zionism had become a significant factor in Jewish identity.
As a journalist, Herzl covered the notorious Dreyfus trial in which a French Jewish army officer had been made the scapegoat for someone else’s treason. This had a profound impact on Herzl and brought home the realization that Jews would always be scapegoats unless they returned to their ancestral homeland. Although this is the common belief as to what generated the modern Zionist movement, political scientist Professor Shlomo Avineri of the Hebrew University argued in his biography of Herzl that it was not so much the Dreyfus trial as what was happening in 19th century Europe in general that influenced Herzl’s train of thought, especially with regard to the Austro-Hungarian empire, which Emperor Franz Joseph had turned into Europe’s best country for the Jews, who enjoyed unprecedented emancipation during his reign. All that was changing rapidly.
Zionism quickly developed into a political movement, so it is fitting that both journalists and politicians should be the first to speak at the lecture series.
Former Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich, who for many years prior to her political career was a radio and television journalist and fellow journalist Erel Segal will be speaking together with Herzl Center chair Dr. Aliza Lavie, who is a former Yesh Atid MK, and who lectures at the School of Communications at Bar-Ilan University.