Cite Ben-Amos and Bourdon, Television and the Formation of Israeli Collective Memory

Ben-Amos, Avner and Jérôme Bourdon. “Old Heroes in a New Medium: The Television Program Such a Life and the Formation of Israeli Collective Memory.” Jewish Social Studies 17.3 (2011): 156-81.





The subject of this article is the Israeli television program Such a Life, which was broadcast on the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Channel One between 1972 and 2001. The program, based on a protagonist’s life and told through a surprise studio encounter with his or her family, friends, and colleagues, was the Israeli version of the earlier U.S. and British television programs This Is Your Life. But where the U.S. and the U.K. programs focused on sentiment and entertainment, the Israeli counterpart emphasized memory and education, in a conscious effort to contribute to the formation of the national memory. The first part of the article describes the history of Such a Life from its inception to its end, and the second part constitutes a structural analysis of the production process and the broadcast episodes, to explain how its image of the Israeli past was cobbled together. We describe the creation of Such a Life, analyze its main features, and explain how it became such a successful vehicle in promoting and diffusing the Zionist view of the “life-story” of Israel.

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