Bread, Circuses and Deceit on Channel 2

Geller himself is no more interesting than the snows of yesteryear, which he is probably capable of bringing down as confetti in midsummer. What is interesting are his sponsors, his partners in fraud.

Whoever at Keshet dreamed up the program of Uri Geller looking for a successor was walking on a reinforced concrete bridge: From the start, he knew that he would capture the ratings. After all, all the surveys indicate that about a third of Israelis, if not more, believe in lucky charms and magic potions, in horoscopes and lucky stars, in the blessings of rabbis and the curses of Kabbalists and in various other types of abracadabra.

There is no need to expose what is happening behind the scenes in order to know that nobody in the world can read another person's thoughts, or can plant his own thoughts in another person's mind. If such a person were to appear, the world would be redeemed - or, alternatively, return to primal chaos.

Anyone who did not believe that Yaakov Meridor, who wanted to produce energy ex nihilo, would be able to light up Ramat Gan with one light bulb, would also have difficulty believing in Geller's primitive inventions. Meridor, like Geller; Geller like Meridor - both understood that many Israelis are gullible people who will believe anything, because they don't believe in anything; just for that reason, those of little faith have nothing left to do but to pin their hopes on wonders and miracles and mysteries.

Channel 2 lives among its people, understands them, and hastened to prepare bread and circuses for them. The highly developed sense of smell of the franchisees and their moneymakers guides them directly to this fragrant bread, whose dough expands from such circuses and deceptions as though they were yeast; ratings are the yeast of commercial television.

Anyone who until now has refused to alter his perception of this profitable deception will be helped by the exposes published this week. It turns out that Geller's magic tricks are less sophisticated than people think and far more childish, suitable for fancy birthday parties for youngers aged 7 or 8 at most.

The magician and his heirs meet before the program, and with a wink and a nudge coordinate their tricks among themselves in advance. Even born skeptics should be insulted: Even they, who did not attribute divine, superhuman powers to the star, did not expect such an inferior level of magicianship.

In the name of hundreds of thousands of embarrassed viewers, the question must be asked: Have you deceived and also bequeathed? And we will ask the collaborators: Have you sealed your lips and also become successors? Had you not become involved with him, you would not have known his secret.

Geller himself is no more interesting than the snows of yesteryear, which he is probably capable of bringing down as confetti in midsummer. What is interesting are his sponsors, his partners in fraud. And this is the moment for a proper confession: About three months ago, the producers of the show turned to me and asked me to participate in it. I was so insulted that I didn't even check whether they wanted me to play the solo role of the policeman, Arye Amit, or that of the chorus that is constantly shouting: "Wow, there's absolutely nobody like him!"

The franchisees from Keshet are also interesting. If they didn't know it before, now they know that this is a deception; and nonetheless, the deceit continues. Now they are also involved in the embezzlement, throwing sand in our eyes.

If only we could be certain that the fraud begins and ends with "The Heir" - but who can guarantee that? If it is permissible to deceive on one program, why is it not permissible on another? And why is it forbidden to deceive on the evening news, which is ostensibly produced by an independent company, but only ostensibly: On its board of directors a majority is reserved for the franchisees and their representatives.

After all, there is no shortage of worthless magicians in our political life, either: people who would like to resemble Geller, to pretend to have hidden supernatural powers; to present their failing wars as victories and their corruption as a conspiracy against them. Why shouldn't capital join government in another fraudulent co-production of false representation? Why shouldn't they make a concerted effort to wash brains and to plant thoughts into them? Yaakov Meridor may be dead, but he is living in Jerusalem.

Recently the ratings-hungry channels were given permission to broadcast, alongside the commercials, "marketing content" - which is camouflaged advertising. Through the branches of camouflage, just one last question is begging to be asked: Would you buy a new car from Channel 2?