A Disproportionate Response

I must have blinked and missed it.  You know, the news coverage of the barrage of missiles and mortars that have been fired at Israel this past weekend from Gaza, sending over a million citizens of the South into their bomb shelters. You would think over 200 missiles and mortars would be newsworthy. Maybe the world’s media went on a collective vacation this past week. Of course, any response from Israel in defense of her citizens will draw worldwide condemnation and dominate front page headlines. Words like “disproportionate response” will be flung about and headlines such as “Israel continues to pound Gaza” will elicit more of an angry response than John McEnroe in his heyday!

Sometimes I think the world media is guilty of disproportionate reporting!

One thing is for sure, we live in a topsy-turvy world. The irony of Syria “strongly condemning” Israel’s response and their appeal to the international community to sanction Israel is laughable. This from the regime that has brought you massacres that grow exponentially by the weeks?

Let’s examine the facts for a minute. A million Israeli citizens in bomb shelters. 200 000 children unable to go to school because it is too dangerous.  Are we the only country that cancels school because of rockets and not blizzards?

The lack of interest exhibited by the world media is nothing new. Double standards are the order of the day when reporting on Israel. But in the age of social media when you sneeze and someone tweets it, it seems that the media battlefield is steadily moving into the social media sphere. Nobody said it better that President Shimon Peres when he noted that once Jews were known as the people of the book but now we have become the people of the Facebook!

It is here that we seriously need to applaud the efforts made not only by military and government officials but also ordinary citizens. For the past week, Israelis have been posting, tweeting, liking and sharing as if there lives depended on it. And in some cases, it does! When a television camera showing the Israeli experience is as rare as the lesser spotted snow leopard, we have realised that it has become incumbent on us as citizens to take the news to the masses. Whether it has been catching dodgy doctored twit pics or showing the Iron Dome in action, intercepting the incoming missiles, the message has been cohesive. If the world media will not tell our story, we will!

 We will tell you all about the trauma experienced by our children as the run for cover. We will tell you how loud bangs and noise scare them. And we will tell you how they learn songs in kindergarten that explain what to do when they hear the sirens. Their little hearts pounding. We will tell you about the anxiety of parents as they frantically search for cover and hope their children are safe. We will tell you how they explain the concepts of bomb shelters and gas masks to their innocents. Yes, gas masks and bomb shelters are as much a apart of our lives here as driving on the right hand side of the road or speaking Hebrew. We will tell you how for some citizens living in towns close to Gaza only have 15 seconds to get to the bomb shelter. Count 15 seconds to yourself. Now ask yourself, what can I do in just 15 seconds?

 We will also tell you that even though the rockets and mortars fall and the enemy wants our destruction that life goes on. We are a nation that not only reveres life, we celebrate it! This past week, people have celebrated weddings under reinforced concrete. Many read the Megilla Esther and celebrated Purim as the sirens wailed.

 Yes, we may sometimes need to seek shelter but we are not broken. Our response is disproportionate. We fight terror with resilience, celebration and a never dulled hope for peace.

 We are Israel. This is our truth.

About the Author
Rolene Marks is a passionate advocate for Israel and has appeared on radio, television and has been published in numerous publications. Rolene is a member of the Media Team Israel, an advocacy body that fights media bias against Israel.