by Susan Weidman Schneider

Women on the Air in Israel

You’d think that having radio and television producers calling Israeli women’s organizations for resources would be unalloyedly good news. Not so, according to Leslie Sacks, spokeswoman for the Israel Women’s Network, the umbrella group for women’s organizations in Israel, interviewed recently in Jerusalem. “The media in Israel is becoming increasingly tabloid-like. New local radio stations and the new second television network (which is the first one to carry advertising, no boon to the image of women) do lots of talk shows because they are cheap to do,” notes Sacks. And that’s where the problem lies; women as victims—whether of spousal abuse, unjust divorce laws or employment discrimination— are hot subjects for these shows. “The media wants only personal testimony,” says Sacks, referring to the lurid details of women’s unhappiness that the talk show hosts and audiences seem to feed upon. “They only want a woman who was raped, beaten or ran away from home.” Sacks adds that when she tells producers that she can provide women judges, sociologists, and others who are working to analyze women’s rights in Israel, these offers are turned down in favor of the suffering victim.

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