"Granted, there are thousands of smart people who would do anything to inherit the factory, but I don't want that kind of heir. I don't want an adult heir. Adults will refuse to believe me. They won't be prepared to learn. They'll want to run the factory in their own way and not my way. So I've decided that the heir must be a child. A nice and wise child. A child whom I can divulge all my deepest and highly valuable secrets to while I'm still alive." Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The "documentation trustees" course that was held at the Reshet TV School during Passover vacation reminded me of Charlie Bucket – the big-hearted child who lives in a hovel with his parents and sleeps in a bed together with his two grandfathers and two grandmothers – when he visited the chocolate factory. After finding one of the golden tickets, Charlie is taken on a tour of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Thanks to his kind heart, wisdom and seriousness, Charlie wins the contest and inherits the prosperous chocolate factory.
Although one of the messages of the book is that children should read more and watch less TV, I'm sure that Willy himself would be impressed by the professional earnestness of the Communications track students from Atidim, Reshit, Herzog and ORT Lod Arab High School, who came to the Reshet TV School to learn "how journalism is done." They will eventually become the documentation trustees of the Tovanot B'Hinuch initiative, and perhaps in the future will also inherit a part of the real media world.
The warm reception by Hila Barel, the generous hospitality of the Reshet TV School, the professional subject matter delivered by Eran Hadas, Benny Carmeli and others, the support from Beyond Ltd. – and most of all, the students' passion to learn – all turned the three-day course into a kind of successful team-building journey where we all became acquainted not only with the real media world, but also with the vast power it has – for better or for worse.
During the three-day course, the students were introduced to subjects such as: how to choose a topic for a story, editing considerations, how to appear on camera, the role of the director, and more. The highlight was watching a live broadcast of Reshet's morning program and visiting the control room.
Mediating the Future
Lucy Aharish's unscheduled lecture, which she gave on the second day of the course, underscored the fact that when in the right hands, today's media, where everyone is able to express their opinion, can generate real change. Aharish stressed that instead of negative things, like notorious shaming, each and every one of us – regardless of age, ethnicity or socioeconomic status – can use his or her freedom of speech to make a positive change.
"We were born in the same country and have to live here, not because of what was, but because of what will be. When I speak out against the Arab leadership, against the Prime Minister or against injustices in Israeli society, I do so to make it better for you, so that people will open their eyes and understand that we have no other country."
"It's okay that we don't think alike or look alike. It's okay, and that's the essence of a democratic society. And thank god we live in a democratic country because in some other countries, people are not allowed to open their mouths and speak out against something or say what they want to say…it’s okay that we don't share the same views, but it’s not okay to think that only we're right. It's not okay to think that there's no room for another person's opinion. It's not okay to judge people. It's not okay that I receive threats when I say what's on my mind and point out things that are not good in our society. It's not okay, and it's not the society I want to live in. The goal that each and every one of us has is not to be 'right' and not to 'blame' the others. The goal should be putting the blame on ourselves and examining where we went wrong."
"You live in the same place, you're in the same country. You're in the same class and are still wary of one another, or don't want to hear what the other side has to say. All I'm asking is that you open your eyes and yourselves to something different. Get rid of the frustration and stop being victims. The Arabs are not victims and no one is doing a favor by letting them live here. It's their country too. And the Jews don't need to apologize for having a country, for having a home. The reality is that we live together and we have no other choice."
"It's very easy to choose the path of hate. There's nothing easier than to hate and say that I don't want to get to know them. They don't want me. They don't want to accept me. So I don't want to get to know them. But it's also possible to stop for a moment and say – not everyone is like that, and I have the ability to make a change."
The Start of the Journey to Fulfilling Your Dream
Ultimately, we all went away feeling that the media, above all, is an important democratic tool that brings painful, and often difficult, issues to the surface. It does so in order to make us a brave society that copes with its challenges and offers an equal opportunity to all its citizens, including those who are not yet 16 years old.
The participating students, who chose to give up their vacation days and in some cases even a chance to earn some money, wanted to become closely familiar with the media world. They know, just like Lucy Aharish, that some of them will fulfill their dream of becoming influential journalists who cause the people who watch the stories they film, read the articles they write or listen to their radio programs – to believe that the reality can be different, and that it's possible to create a better one.
We decided to call those students "documentation trustees" because the essence of their mission is not only to document what is happening at their school or in their community, but also to be true to themselves and expose both the good and the bad things.
I chose to end this article with another remark that Lucy Aharish made: "Look around you and see how lucky you are. Look at the good things you have and not only the bad. There's nothing easier than seeing just the bad things we have in life. I could have cried because some people wish I would die or get cancer – there's nothing easier than falling apart and crying. But when I leave here, I say to myself: 'I have a stage, I have a microphone.' I have the opportunity to stand before you and tell you that it's not all black and white. The truth is not absolute, but somewhere in the middle. And your role is to question, to investigate and to tell your truth."