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Arabic-edition ‘Sesame Street’ returns to Middle East TV screens

“Iftah Ya Simsim” is set to return to TV screens across the Middle East after a 25-year hiatus

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Children’s all-time television favorite “Sesame Street” is set to return to TV screens across the Middle East, starting Friday after a 25-year hiatus.

The show’s Arabic edition makes a comeback after it was interrupted during the Gulf War. It will be aired on 10 channels across the region, local news reports said.

The new edition is a collaboration by the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, the Abu Dhabi Education Council, twofour54, and Bedia Media.

The program’s new episodes will provide simple educational messages to develop children’s skills, promote the Arabic language, and preserve Arab heritage.

“Iftah Ya Simsim” or “Open your doors Sesame” was the first authorized international version of the long-running American educational and entertainment show. It premiered in Kuwait in 1979, was broadcast in 22 Arabic-speaking countries. It went off air in 1990 during the Gulf War.

This week, children in the Saudi capital Riyadh will get to meet the program’s characters as part of a local cultural festival. The program’s first episodes will also be aired at the show.