David Mandel
Chief Executive Officer, OHEL Children's Home and Family Services

Journalists as Sheep

This is how the death of a nine year old Palestinian girl in a Gaza hospital is reported.

“At one point in the dying girl’s final moments, a half-dozen journalists with television cameras crowded around the  gurney”.

Civilized people crowd around a dying girl to offer comfort to her and her family, to recite a prayer, to ease the oncoming grief and trauma of the loss of a child.

What do Palestinians and their complicit journalists do? They parade journalists to a hospital so they can crowd around a dying girl cameras in hand.

The difference between Hamas terrorists and journalist terrorists covering Gaza is that the former holds a gun the latter a camera.

In fact, the camera may be even more potent hurling its imagery with even less accuracy than Hamas rockets though in greater distances and inflicting more damage.

Hamas’ 1200 rockets launched at Israel land harmlessly in open fields or are destroyed by an Iron Dome missile. A few have damaged buildings and killed one person. Primarily, the damage inflicted is the trauma to Israelis most especially children in Southern Israel who live in constant fear as hundreds of thousands even millions flee non stop into shelters.

On a day when Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) opens a hospital at the Gaza border to treat Palestinian civilians who are inadvertently injured and when Germany honors WW2 officers who attempted to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944, two bold humanitarian acts in times of war, Hamas conducts tours of hospitals.

Foreign journalists eager for prime war coverage lost an opportunity to comport themselves professionally and humanely when confronted by the sight of a dying girl. They failed to do what is natural for most human beings.  Take her hand, say a prayer with her in her moment of death, seek out her family to mourn with them.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan likes to equate Israel’s actions in Gaza as atrocities worse than Hitler’s. History is a good teacher. Germany imposed a law following the Holocaust that soldiers are encouraged to defy orders if they would result in a crime or violate human dignity.

Three thousand years ago the mighty Pharaoh ruled Egypt and much of the world for a millennial. He then ordered his entire army to chase after the Jews into the Red Sea as they left Egypt for The Promised Land, Israel. Horseman and chariot all vanished into the sea and Pharaoh’s rule gave way to the Greek’s.

Egypt’s ruler today General Sisi has in the main sided with Israel. This is a potent force since Gaza’s lifeline emanates only via Egypt to the south and Israel to the north.

Journalists and cameramen in Gaza would do well to follow the lead of German officers in 1944 who defied orders rather than sheepishly capitulate to Hamas’ show of dying nine year old girls. The scoop they have today will haunt them in coming years for their wont of a picture and failure to lift a finger to help.

The only other route available to Hamas is The Mediterranean Sea. It didn’t work out so well three thousand years ago.

About the Author
David Mandel is CEO of Ohel Children's Home and Family Services. For more than 50 years, Ohel has provided a safe haven for those suffering in the community. Ohel cares for more than 17,000 individuals in the New York metropolitan area and across all communities offering a broad range of mental health services including outpatient counseling, trauma, anxiety, eldercare, respite and housing.