The eraser and the anti-eraser: The battle over colour television in Israel

Oren Soffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


At the end of the 1970s, the issue of color television broadcasting had become dominant in Israel. Even though all its programs were broadcast de facto in black and white, Isreal's single television channel had the technology to transmit programs in color. But the Israeli Broadcasting Authority was erasing the color from programs purchased abroad. This act reflected the same line of thought that had prevented the establishment of television in Israel for about two decades: a fear of the effects of television on society and culture. By erasing the color, the Israeli government attempted to control the consumption of new color sets. But at the end of the 1970s, public demand for color television was answered through the 'invention' of the 'anti-eraser' - a device that would block the IBA color erasing. The Israeli viewer was willing to pay more for color television. As I will argue, the intention to erase the color and the private activity to revive it, along with the accompanying public discourse, reflected the growing tension between the étatist forces in Israel (the spirit of its early decades) and the liberal, capitalist and global forces that were gaining momentum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-775
Number of pages17
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Color
  • Israel
  • Media events
  • Media technology
  • Regulation and culture
  • Television


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