Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nanny State? Baby Sitter State!

As recently as the 7th of October 1975, Yisrael Kargman, a powerful member of the Knesset who at the time was head of the Knesset Finance Committee, sent a letter to Prime Minster Yitzchak Rabin warning about the possibility that the single state television station was preparing to extend its broadcasting hours from 11pm to midnight. Given that it was a state-run operation, it's not surprising that one of the top bean-counters in the land was worried about higher electricity bills; what's notable were the non-financial considerations which led the MK to request the intervention of the PM to shut down the television broadcasts early:
The problem isn't merely budgetary. We are a working nation, and we arise early to get to work. Morning shifts start at 6am, and commuting often takes an hour. Expanding the programming schedule by an hour will cause people to remain glued to their televisions until after midnight, and there won't be enough time for the working person to sleep. It will be even worse with the youth.

The contention that people don't have to watch television so late disregards the fact that people do; televisions encourage people to watch thrillers and other programs. Nor does it help to shut the family TV, since the neighbors still have theirs on, broadcasting loudly.

I hereby request that you use your public stature to stop this development.
Yet it appears that perhaps 1975 was closer to today than Krugman's letter indicates. A week later Eli Mizrachi, Rabin's Chief of Staff, responded to Krugman: "we asked around and it's legal." By way of consolation he added that the Minister of Education would talk to the relevant committee and convey the unease of the Finance Committee.

That was probably the end of the matter, if today's multi-channel permanent broadcasts are any indication.


  1. The satirical program 'Nikui Rosh' had a piece that week with Rivka Michaeli in a granny nightgown and sleeping cap telling people who have to get up in the morning to go pee and go to sleep. (pipi v'lishon)

  2. We fight a losing battle with decadence.

  3. Kargman's twenty-fifth yahrzeit was two and a half weeks ago.

    I suppose it's good he missed out on the Internet.