New episodes of “Sesame Street” are going on TV in Israel and the Palestinian territories, producers said Sunday, years after the original versions signed off because of a lack of funds.As with the popular U.S. program — designed to enhance basic educational content for youngsters — producers tailored the Mideast casts and story lines to the fit the audiences.”Rechov Sumsum,” the Israeli version, features a Muppet of Arab origin for the first time. Arab puppets have been used in other versions of the show elsewhere around the world.New human actors on the Israeli version include Jewish immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia, communities that have faced ill treatment from some veteran Israelis.The Palestinian counterpart, “Shara’a Simsim,” seeks to offer positive role models to boys in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”It’s really about respect and tolerance,” said Gary Knell, president of Sesame Workshop, the New York-based nonprofit group behind Sesame Street programming worldwide. “We know that television teaches — the question is, ‘What does it teach?'”Knell said the goal is to counter negative influence of society, because children as young as 3 can begin to demonstrate prejudice.”They’re not born with this,” he said. “They’re learning it from their parents, from the… Read full this story
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