JERUSALEM (Sep. 13)
The Israel Broadcasting Authority has taken extensive measures to ease potential severe psychological distress among viewers, caused by the present showing of the American NBC-TV mini-series “Holocaust” on Israel television. The Authority has four psychologists in the studio to answer telephone calls from viewers distressed by the program. It opened a special telephone exchange for such viewers.
The Authority’s decision to take such measures came after the recent suicide of a woman in London following the showing of the program on British television.
“We didn’t want an unauthorized person or secretary to answer such telephone calls. Rather, we wanted people who can help and assist,” Mordechai Kirschenbaum, director of programming, explained.
However, the me asures taken far exceeded what was needed. After the showing of one part, only five viewers called, and none was in need of psychological assistance.
Israel’s educational television network, meanwhile, interviewed historians and experts of the Holocaust period rather than psychologists. It also opened a telephone switchboard to answer calls on the subject, which received 54 calls. The viewers expressed both praise and criticism of the series.
Only one-fourth of the calls were from viewers under the age of 20. Two-thirds were native born Israelis and from Eastern European backgrounds, while one-third was of Asian or African background.