Big Bird is attempting to succeed where Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have failed by bringing Palestinian and Israeli auds closer together.
“Sesame Street” is returning to Israeli and Palestinian TV screens after a lack of coin saw the much-loved kiddie skein axed from skeds.
The localized versions of the show will appeal to sensibilities in both territories. In Israel, the show is called “Rechov Sumsum” and features Mahboub, a Muppet of Arab origin who speaks Arabic and Hebrew, for the first time.
The Palestinian counterpart — known as “Shar’aa Simsim” — will attempt to offer uplifting stories and laffs aplenty for kids otherwise surrounded by conflict and economic hardship.
“We’ve found that parents in the region are looking for the proper tools to give their children a chance to prosper educationally and lead productive lives,” says Gary E. Knell, prexy and CEO of Gotham-based nonprofit organization Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Workshop plays a unique role in that we provide programming for the West Bank, Gaza and Israel that speak to the local needs of the audience in an engaging way.”
In addition to the relaunch of the shows, execs at Sesame Workshop will distrib Muppet-themed educational tools through schools in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
“Sesame Street” is shown in more than 120 countries worldwide. This isn’t the first time the Muppets at Sesame Street have been used to foster greater understanding across the Mideast. In 2005, first lady Laura Bush appeared with characters from the Egyptian version of the show “Alam Simsim” during a Mideast tour designed to help advance her husband’s “freedom agenda.” Thankfully she appeared with Elmo-like character Khokha rather than subject herself to the gruff antics of Oscar the Grouch.