Israel shuts down cultural TV channel

Israel shuts down cultural TV channel


norman lebrecht

August 09, 2018

The Israeli government has pulled the plug on the country’s educational channel, known locally as החינוכית, after just over 52 years of productive broadcasting.

The channel was watched as much by adults as by children for its exceptional cultural content.

A weekly classical music programme, Intermezzo, with Arik Vardi was a model of its kind.

The channel will close down on August 15. Ours not to reason why.

More here.



  • Caravaggio says:

    A country that deliberately flips far-rightward and that chooses to abandon its charter has little use for culture. For barbarism and crudity, yes.

    • Michael Fine says:

      While I am disappointed that Israel will close their educational channel – and perhaps it will be remade into something new – it is no excuse for your blatant attack at a nation who manages rather well considering the neighborhood in which it lives. Maintaining a vibrant democracy under a constant state of war would not be easy for any nation. Israel does it well and proudly. Israel’s extraordinary restraint in the face of non-stop provocation is a lesson for all. It survives in a world where it is the only country where otherwise polite people call for its destruction. I don’t agree with the policies of several nations but that doesn’t mean I want them wiped off the planet or that they don’t have the fundamental right to protect themselves. My guess is that you don’t care for Israel regardless of which party is in government.

      • Caravaggio says:

        No one here, not least I, is arguing for “wiping Israel off the planet”. Your response borders on hysterical.

    • James says:

      I’m not sure what you mean by “deliberately flips far rightward”. Firstly, it’s not FAR right, it is currently centre-right. It also depends how you define left and right. If you mean socialism v capitalism, that ideological switch happened as far back as Ben Gurion – and arguably the country has benefited from the results (nevertheless there are still important hangovers from the country’s socialist roots, such as in the education system). If you mean in terms of approach to defence issues (which is what it mostly means in Israel) there was no “deliberate” flip to the right. The current Prime Minister engaged in peace talks just a few years ago and according to various credible insider reports, he engaged in a serious and genuine way. In any case Israel has made a number of very generous peace offers over the years and every time been rebuffed, and each offer was usually followed by attacks on Israel, so a stronger focus on military defence has hardly been “a deliberate flip”. Many polls show that most Israeli politicians are centrist in their views on most issues. And even the regrettable recent Jewish Nation State Bill is more a riposte to years of “lawfare” from the Palestinians and their allies at the UN (denying any historical Jewish connection to the land). Actually it was initially conceived by a centrist politician who wanted to lay down statements on both sides as an important precursor to moving peace talks forward. And talks are currently ongoing about introducing complementary bills giving benefits to Israel’s minorities. It’s hardly a flip to the far right. And Israel is hardly the only country guilty of cutting on arts broadcasting. As a matter of irony, historically I think the only political breed who can safely be relied upon to safeguard and bolster the arts are dictators!

  • william osborne says:

    I’m not certain, but I believe the public education channel is being shut down because educational programming is being turned over to a private corporation. It’s argued this will be more efficient and economical. (This move toward privatization conforms to the economic policies of a much larger country of which Israel is a client state…) About 180 people who worked for the public educational channel will lose their jobs. I think an agreement was made for 40 of them to be rehired by the private corporation.

    Some argue that this will also allow for more varied and socially realistic programming for children than the idealized views presumably presented by the public channel — such as shows that touch on things like the tensions between Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews, or the issues of living with Palestinian neighbors. My guess would be that a corporation oriented toward its profit margin might be more easily intimidated by the government than relatively autonomous government employees.

  • Edgar says:

    “Ours not to reason why.” Really?

    William Osborne’s comment is quite plausible, especially the final sentence: “My guess would be that a corporation oriented toward its profit margin might be more easily intimidated by the government than relatively autonomous government employees.”

    This is exactly why the educational channel is abolished – a move, I am sure, brought to the public by Naftali Bennett, education minister in the right-wing Netanyahu government (and in fact the one most itching to occupy Bibi’s office himself).

    Ours not at all difficult to reason why.

  • esfir ross says:

    Israel cultural minister M.Regev carry on Hebbels spirit and tactics. And why must we care about Israel and any foreign countries?

    • V.Lind says:

      Oh, trading for food, etc.?

    • James says:

      If you mean Goebbels, that is a disgraceful analogy. I’m no fan of Miri Regev, far from it in fact, but comparing her to a Nazi? You debase the memory of the Holocaust and language itself.

      If on the other hand you happen to mean the German playwright Hebbel, then I don’t get the analogy.

    • Helene Kamioner says:

      Because that’s what civilized, educated, cultured, caring people do.

  • luigi nonono says:

    There is nothing “hysterical” about reminding people of Israel’s right to exist when it is constantly under attack, particularly in Europe.
    I would also suspect that the ultra-right influence may have either pressured the government to sell the channel off, or, the government sold it off to protect it from the ultra-right influence. They do not seem to be stupid there. And Israel seems to be one of the most cultured nations on the planet.