Asking Times of Israel for Clarification

I am disturbed by so much that has been happening in the past couple of weeks. Whether the murder of the Henkins in front of their children or the murder of two men in the Old City or the very long list of attacks in just the last couple of days–all of it has me and many upset. Given that there are so many who are indeed upset, there would seem to be no reason that the Times of Israel would want to add to peoples’ anxiety, frustration and pain. And yet, it is exactly what ToI did today.

This morning, there was a terror incident near Tekoa. In that incident, a woman was dragged from her car and nearly murdered.

The woman, Rivi Ohayon, said that a mob had opened the door of the car when it came to a stop and that she was afraid they would try to pull her out. She was kicked multiple times, she said, and the car’s front windshield was smashed. Thank G-d someone had a gun and was able to protect her and others who came under fire. Yet, Times of Israel chose to post the news story with a headline that stated “Settlers shoot Palestinian…” Almost immediately, ToI was “assailed” with comments on social media that they were doing exactly what BBC did the other day–skewing the story and making it about the shooting of a “Palestinian” rather than what the real story was: The attempted murder of Jews. Yes, the headline was changed, but once again, it was more of an emphasis on the actions against the perpetrator and not on what happened to the Jews. The new headline stated: “Israelis shoot at mob assailing Jewish woman, injure Palestinian.” Just like the BBC, this language places the “story” on the terrorist and not on the victims.

A few hours later, the Times of Israel reported that a “Palestinian” had been shot and killed in an incident in Ramallah (since then, it has become unclear if this is accurate or not). In any case, the ToI ran a tweet alongside the story with a picture of the “dead” terrorist. The problem is that if you go to the actual tweet you see that it was posted with the following text: “The martyr’s name is Ahmed Hamid. He was shot in the head for hurling stones at armed soldiers!” In other words, the “supporting” picture for your story was posted by someone who supports the murder of Jews!

I urge the editorial directors of Times of Israel to take extra caution in these very difficult times to ensure directorial responsibility and not feed into the world’s image of what is happening here. And, for goodness sake, please do not use tweets from Israel’s enemies to support your stories.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.