Op­po­si­tion law­mak­ers push to save Ed­u­ca­tional TV

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By GREER FAY CASH­MAN

Zion­ist Union MKs Merav Michaeli and Yossi Yonah have called an ur­gent meet­ing at the Knes­set for next Wed­nes­day, in what amounts to a last-re­sort ef­fort to save Is­raeli Ed­u­ca­tional Tele­vi­sion from clo­sure.

IETV was the first tele­vi­sion ser­vice to be es­tab­lished in Is­rael, dat­ing back to 1965.

Like so many other state-owned in­sti­tu­tions, it owes its ge­n­e­sis to the Roth­schild Foun­da­tion, which part­nered with the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry to make it a re­al­ity.

Its ini­tial broad­cast in March 1966 was the first tele­vi­sion trans­mis­sion in Is­rael.

Prime min­is­ter David Ben-Gu­rion was op­posed to hav­ing any tele­vi­sion in Is­rael, and it was not un­til then dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Levi Eshkol (1963-1969) that tele­vi­sion was in­tro­duced.

Is­rael Tele­vi­sion, later known as Chan­nel 1 and cur­rently known as KAN 11 (“11 is here”), did not be­gin trans­mit­ting un­til May 1968.

Ed­u­ca­tional Tele­vi­sion – orig­i­nally called In­struc­tional Tele­vi­sion – was in­tended as a means of help­ing school chil­dren with their stud­ies in English, math and bi­ol­ogy.

In the be­gin­ning, 60 tele­vi­sion sets were given to 32 schools. It took a year be­fore the broad­casts went na­tion­wide; they were ex­panded to in­clude en­ter­tain­ment for chil­dren, but the pro­grams al­ways con­tained some kind of ed­u­ca­tional con­tent.

In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the es­tab­lish­ment of In­struc­tional Tele­vi­sion, the broad­cast­ing chan­nel was shared with ETV.

Dur­ing the First Le­banon War (1982-1985), ETV be­gan to change its for­mat with mes­sages from and for sol­diers on the front; grad­u­ally cur­rent af­fairs and other adult pro­grams were in­tro­duced.

Since then it has also broad­cast on Chan­nels 2 and 23. Some of its pro­grams can also be seen on YouTube.

As the re­sult of a Knes­set de­ci­sion within the frame­work of tele­vi­sion re­forms that be­gan in 2013-14 when Gi­lad Er­dan was com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter, ETV will be de­prived of its au­ton­omy as of Au­gust 2018 when it is due to merge with KAN. Un­less the de­ci­sion is re­versed, this move will also re­sult in a rel­a­tively large num­ber of dis­missals and pos­si­bly a ma­jor change in con­tent.

Both Michaeli and Yonah are con­cerned that once ETV (now IETV) will be ab­sorbed into KAN, it will mean the end of qual­ity tele­vi­sion in Is­rael – as has al­ready been in­di­cated in the cur­rent com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment where re­al­ity shows are be­com­ing the most com­mon fea­tures in tele­vi­sion line­ups.

This con­cern is con­tained in the in­vi­ta­tion the two MKs have sent out to fel­low MKs and to IETV em­ploy­ees.

Be­fore Michaeli be­come an MK in Novem­ber 2013, she was a ra­dio and tele­vi­sion broad­caster fo­cus­ing on doc­u­men­taries and cur­rent af­fairs. She also taught uni­ver­sity classes in me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

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