Whenever I sit down to write an editorial following a terrorist attack in Israel, I feel both anger and sorrow. The anger is aimed toward the perpetrators, whose twisted view of religion determines that their views are the only way to live by. The sorrow is in part because more precious, innocent lives have been lost and in part because many times, the public response is minimal.
There is no starting point to analyze, rationalize, or attempt to humanize the terrorist activity currently occurring in Israel. All terror attacks are out of bounds but the senseless attack at Har Nof’s Kehilat Bnei Torah Synagogue in particular is so striking that it seems utterly fictitious. Jews praying the Amidah, one of the holiest prayers in Judaism, butchered and hacked to death and injury by people bent on eradicating Jews from the earth. Five people died in the attack, four rabbis and one Druze police officer. This attack is so horrific that even Bahrain, a member of the Arab League, and Turkey, a country who is never shy in its criticism of Israel, have denounced it.
As a journalism student at NYU, the importance of reporting the truth and accurately depicting the facts has been deeply ingrained in my mind. Apparently though, it has not been ingrained in much of the global media. In writing about the events that took place on Tuesday morning, one would be remiss not to point out the various news headlines following the attacks. CNN’s headlines stated, “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem,” and, “Deadly Attack on Jerusalem Mosque.” The French paper, Le Moyne’s, headline was, “Six killed in Jerusalem,” while the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) wrote, “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack.” Clearly, their agenda is not following the ethics of journalism or humanity. It would be easy to say that they “just misreported the facts.” Yet, the misrepresentation of the facts and the equation of the Palestinian terrorists with Israeli civilians are staggering and downright wrong, especially when these sources have no problems brazenly blaming Israel regardless of what the truth actually is. The BBC is a perfect example of this absurdity.
When Naftali Bennett, an Israeli Knesset member, held up a picture of one of the victims of the attack during an interview, the BBC interviewer told him, “We don’t want to actually see that picture, if you could take that down.” Really? This journalist attempted to take matters into her own hands in deciding what to report and what to hide from the public. However, the BBC had no problem showing picture after picture of Palestinians suffering in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. The losses on both sides are tragic. Nonetheless, accurate reporting involves explaining that the Hamas terrorist organization governs the Gaza Strip and places its citizens in the line of fire, while Israel, a democratic state, does all it can to protect its citizens. If anyone was looking for proof that the media is slanted in an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish manner, the evidence is staring them right in the face.
The first line in Isaiah chapter 62 states, “For Zion’s sake I will not be quiet, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest…” The Jewish people, and the global community, should demand fair and equal reporting of the events happening in Israel. Journalists have the ability to change the world for good, but they also have the ability to harm the world when they falsify their reporting. As the Palestinians are racing towards a third intifada, the Jewish people are not defenseless. We have our homeland; not all of it, but enough that Israel can be satisfied to live in peace with its neighbors, when they put down their arms. While it might make peace more difficult to come by, deceitful reporting will not deter Israel from seeking harmony with its neighbors.
Let us hope that the Israel Defense Forces are the only ones who militarily respond to these attacks. Let them show no mercy to those responsible and be swift in their response to those who incite terror. Let them demonstrate that the blood of Israel’s citizens, and its defenders around the world, is not cheap. The Jewish people do not need to resort to the low level of animals who attack innocents or worshipers in their sanctuary in a similar manner to these crazed Palestinian terrorists. The Jewish people do not need another Baruch Goldstein or civilian revenge action. What the Jewish people do need is support from abroad, the ability to cry out when their people are misrepresented by the media, and the strength to stand up to those who denounce Israel, simply for being a Jewish state. Let the Jewish people not be silent in defending our freedom to live in our homeland in peace.