In a blog update last year, I mentioned the unfortunate tendency that media outlets have to sensationalize political situations surrounding Israel, as well as their consistency in creating “media-hype” that victimizes Palestinians while making Israel seem like the bad guy. The blog I wrote was about what ended up being an isolated incident where an Egyptian was referred to as “Superman” several times in an article because he scaled the Israeli embassy in his country, removed the flag, and threw it to the ground in flames, giving him a new superhero name, “Flagman.”
For the past few weeks, Israel has been experiencing a tirade of rockets parading down on it’s southern cities, including Beer Sheva, where a lot of Jonathan’s family lives, killing three people this morning. For the first time since 1991, sirens wailed in Tel Aviv as rockets threatened the huge metropolis. This has prompted Israel to launch a military response, to assassinate Hamas’ largest military leader, Ahmed Jabari (who commanded the operation to capture Gilad Shalit), and to deal with a lot of unwarranted media bias from the world news.
Israel has been targeting only the areas where Hamas manufactures its weapons, the people who manufacture them, and the tunnels through which they are smuggled from Egypt. They drop pamphlets before they attack, send mass warnings to civilians of Gaza, who are trapped under Hamas’ rule, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that currently rules Gaza. They choose to build their military facilities next to and/or IN elementary schools, hospitals, libraries, mosques, and other civilian buildings.
Hamas claims that Israel cages them, puts them inside large fences, prevents them from traveling to their holy cites, withholds necessities that they need to survive, and fails to provide them with equal representation in the government. Let me clarify a few of these misconceptions:
- Israel left Gaza in 2005 — removing ALL citizens (it is actually illegal for an Israeli citizen to enter Gaza) — in the name of peace. Our reward: rocket fire from Gaza into Israel — over 850 in 2012 alone!
- Israel still provides electricity to Gaza (paid for by Israeli citizens/taxes as opposed to — you know — the people who USE it!)
- There are (thank G-d) far fewer Israeli casualties than Gazan casualties for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which are: a) we build bomb shelters and USE them, b) we cancel school and non-essential work in the name of protecting our citizens, c) Hamas uses dense population centers from which to launch attacks, thus using their own citizens as shields.
- Multiple Israeli rescue and/or philanthropic organizations consistently send aid (in many forms) to global locations struck by natural or man-made catastrophes. Now compare this to the reaction of the Palestinians on/after 9/11 (the streets of Ramallah and Gaza were filled with people celebrating the attack on the “Great Satan” — or have you already forgotten?).
- Israelis are prevented from traveling to and living in many of our holy cites, such as Hevron, where the tomb of the forefathers and foremothers is — it’s only open at certain times of the year, and even then, it’s dangerous to go to.
- Israel has agreed to countless numbers of “peace talks,” has given back land that more than equals the size of the small country, and has withdrawn military presence countless times for the sake of peace with a country that REFUSES to recognize Israel as a country, let alone recognize that the country has a RIGHT to exist. Here’s a visual:
People who like to criticize Israel throw around words such as “occupation,” “apartheid,” and urge universities and companies alike to boycott, divest, and sanction thousands of products because they (or a fraction of the product) were made in Israel, by Israeli companies, or Israeli people. Before you get sucked into the hype of BSd, check out this video.
When I taught Hebrew school, many of my students were confused about why Israel would attack their neighbors in Gaza in 2008, and since they got most of their information from the news, they were very influenced by the media bias I want to encourage all of you to avoid. They didn’t understand the damage a few rockets could do. Surely they aren’t made out of sophisticated materials! Surely, they can’t do much damage! Obviously, Israel’s expensive military machines can cause much more, and they do, right?! So I put it in terms I think they could understand.
A brother and sister are on a car ride, stuck in the same place for a very long period of time. The brother starts to play a game my sister LOVED – poke with your finger. On the arm, and he continues to poke, poke, poke, poke, poke, and poke. This goes on for hours, and it starts to hurt. After a little while, the area becomes red, then redder, then redder, and swollen, and more sore. After a few more hours, there’s a bruise starting to appear, and the sister just can’t take it anymore. How does she respond? Does she simply “poke” back? No – she slaps him across the face – the only thing that can get him to stop. If that doesn’t work, she has to try something else, and may even result to kicking him out of the car. This is Israel’s position, except the rockets launched from Gaza, while unsophisticated, HURT. They do damage. They break buildings, burn down cars, and kill people.
Here is a list recommended reading and watching. I urge you to heed the advice of Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesperson, and be careful about where you get your information.
As for us, we’re safe in Jerusalem.
One thing I agree with Eric Yoffe About: