Ofira Assig and Eyal Berkowitz respond to Minister of Communications Shlomo Karai, "Ofira and Barko", January 20, 2023 (Kashet 12)
In Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, "The Importance of Earnestness" from 1895, the wayward Algernon begs the beautiful Cecily to "reform him."
She apologizes, saying she's too busy and then he turns to her with typical Wilde wit and asks: "Is it okay with you if I reform myself, alone?".
The word "reform", as used by the Irish playwright, comes from "reformo" in Latin, and indeed history knows reforms that changed the world, such as the Marian reform that changed the face of society and the imperial army in ancient Rome of the 2nd century BC.
In 1919 it was translated for the first time Wilde's play into the Hebrew language. The translator, Israel Haim Taviov, one of the greatest translators of the revival period, abhorred the use of foreign words - and in the absence of a Hebrew alternative for the word, he chose to translate the word "reform" into the words "correction for the better". Later, Algernon's character says : "I changed for the better".
The point is clear.
The word "reform" always comes with a positive flavor, already at the beginning of the 20th century, the first users of modern Hebrew used it in this sense.
It is therefore a thorough but gradual process that aims to bring about a change for the better.
There are of course exceptions, and especially cases where radical revolutions were branded as "reforms".
Ofira and Berkovich (photo: screenshot, Keshet 12)
If you had told me two years ago, even less, that one day I would be watching a monologue by Eyal Berkovich and the first thing that would come to my mind was Yah Taviov's translation of Oscar Wilde, I would have recommended forced hospitalization. If you had told me that one day and the show "Ophira And Berkovich" will be at the center of the Israeli government, I would tell you that this is a weak prank by Yigal Shilon. But then Shlomo Karai arrived, and promised to "complete a reform with the help of God" (about the ugliness of smearing the name of the Creator of the world for political interests, mainly by Kippa, we will expand on another occasion) in the end "channels will not be able to broadcast intellectual disgrace like Ofira and Barko".
And here's that word again.
The front that Karai opened with Eyal Berkovic and Ofira Assig is a comma within that "reform", which is supposed to eliminate public broadcasting in Israel, and limit in an absolute way the local creation and the independent press, the one that is not committed to interests.
It's not a "fix for the better", it's destruction.
Just as any reasonable person already understands that Yariv Levin's "judicial system reform" is nothing more than changing the system of the regime.
Radical, rapid changes, without broad consensus.
Reform is not.
Eyal Berkovich, a retired magician and an "intellectual disgrace" in the present, proved that he has a greater intellect than all the other senior journalists who broadcast on his channel, when he clearly announced that he refuses to use the word "reform" in the two weekly hours he has on Israel's most powerful media outlet.
"What is this plagiarism with the word reform? It is a pogrom for the court. It is the crushing of democracy. Crushing the courts to save Bibi and to train Deri, so why is it called reform. What is this beautifying word reform?" Berkovic shouted. in the studio.
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Greater intellect than all journalists.
Berkovich (photo: screenshot, Keshet 12)
This is, so to speak, a semantic comment - but an important one.
Berkovich and Essig seem to have internalized exactly how words create reality, and refuse to serve the new regime by automatically reading from their message boards.
Also last week, Berkovic asked to start using the word "dictatorship" to explain the same legal reform.
"People are dumbfounded. I hear a lot of studios and everything, but they don't say the word dictatorship here. But what's happening here is a dictatorship, Ofira. What's actually happening here is that Bibi, who is prime minister, is coming, and he's actually becoming a king. He appoints judges, He appoints legal advisors, it's a dictatorship for its own sake and we should call it what it is."
Across from Berkovic sat attorney Guy Bossi, a respected expert in his field and, in general, a person who is very difficult to shut up. When he began to issue the usual checklist of the message page according to which there is no country in the world where the judicial system works like in Israel, Berkovic He responded simply: There is no problem with reforms, but not a prime minister accused of crimes, that these reforms would certainly benefit his people. Bossi continued to argue, but Berkovic came prepared, and asked: Is there another country in the world that has a prime minister accused of crimes? Bossi threw out the name "Brazil", and from Berkovic's point of view it was worn on the tip of his leg like his volley against Manchester United in the Southampton uniform. We live in a reality where apart from football there aren't too many things where Israel should take an example from Brazil. Berkovic celebrated the answer Bossy's is a bit too much, without a journalistic style, and the truth is - this is exactly the response that this example deserves. These pages of messages are easy to disassemble factually with claims and data,But actually laughing at them in the face is the correct human reaction.
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Shlomo Karai (Photo: Niv Aharonson)
You don't have to agree with Essig and Berkovic, not on the content and certainly not on the form - but right now they seem to be standing alone like Don Quixote against an army of corrupt windmills, which is quite a refreshing sight, certainly in the world of diplomatic and self-interested media.
Even if Berkovic is wrong or exaggerating (and he's not, but that's not the point), and even if there's something a little hypocritical about Ofira becoming more combative only after the bad winds blowing from this government started blowing at her back - they still deserve a lot of credit for not being afraid to stand up against the most powerful government that has ever been here.
Maybe it's the fact that they know they're not losing sources and interviewees anyway, and maybe because, well, these are Israeli patriots who are raising children here and don't want to see their country turn into Poland, Turkey or Hungary.
Two years ago, maybe less, I would not have believed that I would write such a sentence, but voila, most of the Israeli media people could learn a lesson or two from Ofira and Berkovich.
Ofira and Berkovich