20 years of television in Israel: are there long-run effects on values, social connectedness, and cultural practices?



Based on identical studies of the uses of leisure, culture, and communication in Israel in 1970 and 1990, we sought to infer possible long-run effects of the introduction of television broadcasting 20 years after its inception. Although time spent outside the home did not decrease, there was a drop in attendance at ‘spectacles’ of all kinds (whether theater or sports) and a rise in activities that are interactive, time flexible, and peer based. We speculate on how television might be implicated in these changes in leisure and culture. We tend to absolve Israel Television-in its 2 decades of monopolistic public broadcasting-from responsibility for the observed decline in collectivity orientation and political activism despite the fact that precisely such fears were expressed during the years of debate over the wisdom of introducing medium.