One of the core sources of information for the Arab world including
Palestinian-Israelis is the satellite network. That is where Al- Jazeera was
launched and that fertile ground is well serving the Arab Spring in the Middle
East and North Africa. But the question remains, how does Israel fit into this
The Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting recently announced
that the Hala TV group had won a bid to launch Israel’s first Arabic-language
station. An independent Palestinian-Israeli network, with the licensing from the
Ministry of Communication, will offer a framework for unique Arabic content
unlike the current government sponsored Arab-Israeli channel 33.
process, started with the initial approval, if done in a genuine way, will bring
a new platform for broader freedom of speech for Israel’s biggest minority. The
channel will compensate for the current reality in which public visibility of
Palestinian- Israelis in Israel’s mainstream television is sorely lacking. It
will reach out not only to Israel’s majority but also to the Arab world that has
been constantly unable to fully understand the mutant they tend to call the
“Arabs of 48.”
THE CHANNEL can also further introduce the “real” Israel
with its advantages and disadvantages from its minority’s point of
Israeli TV channels mainly cover politics in the Arab world that
concern Israel, and avoid social and cultural elements both local and
Important topics like civil society, women empowerment,
religious debates between Christians and Muslims, literature, music and even
dubbed Turkish dramas to Arabic are amongst many that are not sufficiently
broadcasted to Israelis.
I have no illusions or expectations for such
coverage on Israeli television, but a Palestinian-Israeli independent TV channel
would fill in the void.
Let us keep in mind that in order for this
channel to succeed it should be operated similarly to other commercial channels
in Israel. There are plenty of talented individuals that can make this project
successful and they should be brought to the frontline of the operation. The
channel content could set an example and make a bigger effort than the
traditional Israeli channels to bring the real disputes and common interest of
both Arabs and Jews, and not avoid such discussion.
We can’t shape our
lives by standing on the sidelines ignoring each other. We should take an extra
step toward the other and this starts with visibility.
This step is an
excellent illustration promoting the value of a common destiny and shared values
as oppose to a policy of segregation and separation that is taking over the
public dispute in recent times.
The writer is a graduate student at Tel