Israeli children have set world records watching TV during the gulf war, and educators are trying to persuade parents to put their kids on a "viewing diet," an education ministry official says.

Even before the war, Israeli adults were news junkies. Now, children seem to be taking up their parents' hobby, adding news-watching to their normal menu of fun shows, said Israel Cohen, adviser to Education Minister Zevulun Hammer.Some war-related shows include explanations about using gas masks and other protection from chemical warfare because of Iraq's repeated threats to attack Israel with chemical weapons.

Cohen said Thursday that surveys of the first two weeks of the war - when schools were closed because of Iraqi missile attacks - show children age 8 through 17 watched up to nine hours of television daily.

The figure is about double the normal Israeli and American average for children, he said.