Daily Israel Report

Culture Minister Livnat Fights the ‘TV Big Brother’

Israeli television 'is lower than low,' says Culture Minister Livnat. She also said she is balancing anti-Zionist events without being a censor.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/25/2009, 11:30 AM / Last Update: 11/25/2009, 12:03 PM

The level of Israeli television, where the "Big Brother” program is being roundly condemned by many while still attracting a large audience, is “lower than low,” Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat told University of Haifa students Tuesday.

The Big Brother program, Israel’s version of the “reality" show, features contestants being holed up together without communication with the outside world while 50 surveillance cameras record every movement and viewers vote on the best contestant. Asked by a student about the program, Livnat, who was Education Minister in the Sharon government, said “it simply is impossible to watch television” anymore.

She also said she is trying to bring about the creation of content that will balance out anti-Zionist themes which are very common in films and plays made by certain groups. “I am not a censor,” she stated. “We grant freedom of expression. What I can do is to balance the public councils that determine how to distribute government funds so there will be a variety of opinions.”

She pointed out that her predecessor, Raleb Majadele of Labor and Israel’s first Muslim Cabinet minister, “appointed his ‘own people’ to government positions, a situation she is rectifying. Livnat also revealed she intends to promote a competition for writers on the subject of Zionism.   

She told the students that previous policies were leading Israel into the direction where "culture is only for the wealthy.”

The former Education Minister also criticized her successor in the Olmert government, Yuli Tamir of Labor, for taking away her credit for changes in the school system that already had been implemented.