Tired of watching reality shows? Fed up with too much sex and violence in imported feature films and television series? Eager to see more about Israel and the Jewish people on screen? As of Sunday it’s available on cable TV– with the blessing of Communications Minister Gilad Erdan.
Channel 20 aims to give expression to the dialectics between what it terms classic Jewish culture and evolving Israeli culture.
Following a run in-period during Operation Protective Edge, Avi Bar, former Sports Channel CEO and one of Channel 20’s owners, and chairman Motti Shklar, former head of the Israel Broadcasting Authority and the Second Broadcasting Authority, decided that the time was ripe for Channel 20 to officially take to air.
Although it touts itself as an independent broadcasting entity, Channel 20 has a close relationship with news website YNet, which will be its key provider of news content.
For Erdan, who is in the process of creating a replacement for the IBA and its Channel One, and who is pushing for Reshet and Keshet to operate full time channels, the Channel 20 launch party last Friday was an indication that there is definite interest in the industry in having more local channels available to the public.
Erdan, who attended the launch party, said that it was rare to find such optimism today in Israel with regard to the opening of a new TV channel, and that this was something unique that should not be taken for granted.
The new channel is a symbol of the triumph of the State of Israel, of the people of Israel and the continuity of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel, the minister said, adding that launching a television channel in the current circumstances takes a lot of faith.
Programs are set to center on family- style entertainment, but the channel will also feature special programs for children, dramas, Jewish World news, talk shows and food programs.
The channel will also showcase programs that explore the search for common ground among secular and religious Jews, and will also give a look into the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world.
Anyone looking for new faces on screen will be disappointed, as the channel’s team represents a mix of faces that are a familiar feature on existing television.
Among the on-screen regulars, viewers will find journalist Zvi Yehezkeli, singers Yehoram Gaon and Shuli Rand, former Miss Israel Ilanit Levy, TV hosts Eden Harel and Oded Menashe, as well as other well-known personalities.
Chanel 20 is the second television channel to open in Israel in just over a year. I24news, an international news and current affairs channel based in Jaffa Port, began broadcasting in July 2013, and although Israeli viewers can receive it only via the Internet, American viewers get to see it live on television.