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Egypt to broadcast Hebrew TV to Israel

LONDON - The war of words in the Middle East will get a new outlet as state-run Egyptian television station Nile TV plans to begin broadcasting programmes in Hebrew aimed at Israelis.

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Nile TV will broadcast up to four hours a day of programmes, offering an "unfettered" Arab perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The launch of the Hebrew service marks the first time an Arab TV station has broadcast regular programmes in Hebrew. Nile TV already broadcasts in English and French, as well as Arabic.

A spokesman for Nile TV said: "We don't want to leave the arena free for the Israeli media apparatus. Israeli citizens should be aware of other opinions concerning the Palestinian issue and peace between Israel and the Arabs."

The move follow similar efforts by Israel to improve its Arabic television offering. The Israeli government said in May that it plans to launch a 24-hour Arabic service to counter the effects of popular Arab services, such as the Al-Jazeera satellite channel, which has won widespread publicity during the war in Afghanistan. Until now, Arabic programmes in Israel have been limited to several hours a day.

The new Egyptian station will broadcast a mix of programming, including chat shows and history programmes, which will look at the history of Islam and Egypt, as well as political analysis and news.

One thing the Egyptians are quite clear on is that the new channel will have no input from either the Israelis, be it the Embassy in Egypt, or Israeli TV.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Cairo said: "The Egyptians are taking a lead in the Arab world by launching the first Hebrew broadcasts, which makes them look good among their Arab peers. The problem is, will anyone in Israel be watching?"

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