Jews throughout the world have watched with wonderment as the biggest snowstorm in a half-century blanketed Jerusalem and various cities throughout Israel. We saw numerous photographs and video footage of Israel being transformed into a veritable winter wonderland.
At the same time, we are well aware of the crippling effect that this storm has had on Israel. Thousands of people were left without electricity for several days, countless cars were abandoned on the roads due to the heavy snowfall, and main thoroughfares were shut down, impacting travel in and out of Israel’s capital city. Jerusalem, in effect, was under siege from the snow.
While I am certainly cognizant of the adverse effect that the snowstorm has clearly had on Israel and the news making event that it undoubtedly is, I have to confess that I was shocked when I read an article in today’s New York Times relating to this virtually unprecedented weather event.
The article, which is entitled “Gaza, Vexed by Floods, Gets Fuel and Power,” begins by recounting how Gaza is faring in the aftermath of the storm.
Reading the first nine paragraphs of the article, I learned that Gaza’s sole power plant is once again operational after being offline for a month-and-a-half, and that a $10 million grant from Qatar is going to be used to pay for the industrial diesel that is being trucked into Gaza.
More than halfway through the article, the writers switch gears and spend three paragraphs discussing the effect that the storm had on Israel, and how Israeli authorities are responding to criticism about their handling of the big snowfall.
And then I got to paragraphs 13 and 14 of the article. The final two paragraphs of the story noted that an Israeli soldier was shot and killed last night by a Lebanese soldier as he was on a routine patrol in proximity to the Lebanese border.
What bothered me immensely about this is that the article seems to give the impression that reporting on the unprovoked murder of an Israeli soldier was almost an afterthought.
The title of the article is related to the snowstorm. The first 500 words of the article are all about the snowstorm. Throughout the first 81% of the article, there is absolutely no mention of the fact that an Israeli soldier was killed.
Then the reader arrives at word 501 of a 618 word article and sees, “In a separate development…,” which seemingly gives the impression that this portion of the article was essentially an add-on.
Let me be clear about what happened. 31-year Master Sgt. Shlomi Cohen, a resident of Afula, lost his life when a Lebanese soldier arbitrarily and capriciously decided to open fire at an Israeli army patrol that was traversing Israeli territory, on Israeli soil.
Master Sgt. Cohen leaves behind his wife, Ma’ayan, and an infant daughter, whose first birthday is next month. His death is an absolute tragedy, and the fact that his loving wife lost her husband and that his young daughter will now grow up without a father is utterly heartbreaking.
Yet, The New York Times did not see fit to dedicate an article, or even a brief, to this horrible tragedy that transpired. Instead, it inexplicably included it as somewhat of an addendum to an article about how Gaza is coping after the snowstorm.
I imagine that if the situation was reversed, and an Israeli soldier shot and killed a Lebanese solider for no apparent reason, there would have been a bold headline condemning the attack and an entire article dedicated to how awful it was.
Admittedly, the snowstorm that paralyzed Israel is a major news story. However, I personally do not believe that it trumps the terrible tragedy of a young man’s life being cut short simply because he was performing his duties as an Israeli soldier and safeguarding the people of Israel.
Let us hope that The New York Times recognizes the error of its ways, and next time, if and when there is a next time, they get it right and give the senseless murder of a brave Israeli soldier the attention that it rightfully deserves.