Managing multiple identity challenges and the origins of Israeli national television (in Arabic)

Galia Press-Barnathan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This article examines the intriguing decision of the Israeli government in the aftermath of the 1967 War to embark on a national television project that would be dominated by broadcasts in Arabic. Since actual broadcasts quickly ended up switching to Hebrew, this initial rationale has received little academic attention. Based on primary research, the article suggests that the original decision was driven by the desire of the State to address four identity challenges that it faced at the time: the challenge of delegitimation and hostile propaganda by the Arab world, the challenge of dealing with the Palestinian population in the newly occupied territories, the challenge of dealing with Israel’s Arab citizens, and the challenge of dealing with the Jewish immigrants from the Arab world. I argue that the promise of addressing these multiple challenges made the TV project very attractive, even if for a short time, thus leading to its initiation. The discussion is anchored in the literature from the field of International Relations that explores the concepts of soft power and ontological security and consequently the potential role of popular culture in shaping and managing identity challenges.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)449-464
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • Israel
  • identity politics
  • international relations
  • ontological security
  • popular culture
  • soft power
  • television


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