Look! Everybody’s Here Again!

When it comes to television programming it seems that the pendulum is close to the edge. People have stopped watching TV, that is except for 14 year olds who are keen on buying whatever TV is selling. Whether the medium will die or correct itself in time, I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

In this atmosphere of 57 channels and nothin’ on, the one thing that almost never disappoints is nostalgia. Israel Educational Television (IETV) has just announced that its programs, both classic and new, will be made available for online viewing on its new website. Established in 1965, IETV has produced shows that taught us English, math, and road safety, and gave us our very own sitcom in Hebrew.

Since many of these modern classics are already available on YouTube, I guess the folks at IETV figured if they can’t beat them, might as well join them and make the materials legally available for free.

Since the website will not be launched until next week, here are two teaser ads to tickle your taste buds:

You Lying Dog!

Dobby Doberman - Opening TitleIsrael Educational Television has recently shot a short educational film explaining road safety for kids. This is a new episode of the famous eighties TV series called ‘The Friendly Doberman’ although everyone knows it by the name of its canine protagonist, Dobby Doberman.

I thought this might be a good time to discuss a lie we have all been taught: throughout the 1980s when there was only one channel on Israeli TV, every child learned how to cross the road from the friendly neighborhood dog, Dobby. Two of the many slogans we memorize till this day are: ‘Crossing the road in a straight line – is safer and shorter‘ (it rhymes in Hebrew), and ‘Diagonally means dangerously‘. Since this was a fraud on a massive scale, and since to this day any thirty year old can easily cite these erroneous slogans, I took the time to create an easy to understand diagram showing how we were fooled to believe this fallacy:

Dobby Doberman - A Crosswalk Diagram And How The Fraud Was Perpetuated

To show that crossing a road in a straight line is shorter, two kids (shown here in red) were placed in two different starting points, and crossed the road in order to reach the same finishing point. That was the basis of the perpetrated fraud: sport runners start any competition at the same spot and ends it at the same spot. If two kids are placed in the same starting point and cross the road in order to reach the same finishing point (shown here in green) it is evident that crossing diagonally is much shorter than walking in straight lines – hence your third grade math teacher was right: a straight line provides the shortest connection between two points.

Marlboro Light Photo-Nostalgia

King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin's cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty, October 26th, 1994.I think it is the nostalgia for better times that made this photo pop into my head today. This photo is clearly in my top ten news-related photos, depicting King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty.

I would quote the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who referenced this specific photo in a 1999 speech, and said: “I should hasten to add that, in saying this, I am endorsing peace, not cigarette smoking.”

The photo was taken on October 26th, 1994 by the Israeli Government Press Office photographer Sa’ar Ya’acov. This photo and others can be viewed online and even purchased at Israel’s National Photo Collection.