Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Israeli Network Comes to Cablevision

Good news! As of tomorrow, March 21, The Israeli Network will be offered locally on Cablevision as part of its tier of international channels, at a cost, I hear, of about $15 per month.  At a time when Israel is so often in the news, Cablevision customers will now be able to see Israel's most popular nightly newscast with English subtitles and gain a greater understanding of the complex issues that confront the Jewish state.  Several news and entertainment programs will include subtitles, and others (sports, music) speak in a universal vernacular that all can understand.  Although much of the programming has yet to be subtitled in English (including, understandably, breaking news stories broadcast live) American Jews will be able to engage with Israeli culture in a manner never before so accessible to those not as proficient at Hebrew.  

The Jewish world is about to get much smaller, and the Israeli and American Jewish communities that much closer.  One click and we can go from CNN to Israel's Channel 2 news, without skipping a beat, one minute we can watch Congress in action, the next minute, the Knesset.  Which is the more uncivil?  You decide. 

Even with Israeli news sources easily available online and in print, there is nothing like being able to see events unfold as Israelis see them.  Unfortunately, even in this shrunken world, much of the coverage we see of Israel is one sided and shallow, packaged for maximum impact both by detractors and supporters of the Jewish state.  Complex events are shoehorned to fit a particular narrative.  Now we will be able to allow those events to speak for themselves, and we can see how Israeli experts debate issues crucial to their future - and ours.  We'l see how they debate issues of Jewish identity and destiny as well, how what their political satirists are poking fun at (you'll be amazed), what makes them laugh and what makes Israelis cry.  

For less versed in all things Israeli, T.I.N. provides a great way to learn the language and really connect to the rhythms of Israel time, to see the spring flowers blooming before Passover and feel the sadness of Israel's Memorial Day transitioning instantly to Independence Day celebrations. 

The Israeli Network has been available for some time via the DISH Network, and only recently began expanding to local cable systems.  While the programming lineup is not as extensive as it was several years back and many popular shows are now available online (though none with English subtitles), nothing simulates the thrill of being in Israel than the chance to click the remote and see what Israelis are seeing, when they are seeing it.  Check The Israeli Network's new website to see what is offered.  

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