Gina Friedlander

NY Times Paints Israelis as Unsympathetic

Seeing the headline “Israelis Extend Little Sympathy for Gaza Plight,” I couldn’t help but wonder, how any journalist could think this was news, let alone front page material. Why on earth should Israelis be sympathetic to those who, without provocation, killed in a particularly brutal manner Israeli children, women, farmers, and civilians attending a music festival? Not only that, but took 250 hostages, of whom about 80 are still being kept imprisoned, if not dead. And who continue to support the terrorist group who did this. And who continue to hold the hostages without providing any information about their well-being. Again, how is this considered news?

Here’s a headline you’d never see in the Times: “Gazans Show Sympathy for Plight of Israelis.” You wouldn’t see it because they’d be hard pressed to find any Gazans who show sympathy for the State of Israel.

The Times voices surprise that the lack of sympathy extends beyond the “traditional right-wing strongholds.” If so, their lack of awareness indicates a profound misunderstanding of the people of Israel.

Israelis are not a hard-hearted lot. They have been more than sympathetic to Palestinians as individuals. There are probably dozens of organizations plus many informal groups of individuals who have worked to help those that they view as victims. The prison dentist who saved the life of top Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar comes to mind. “Thanks” to Dr. Yuval Bitton, Sinwar is alive today. The dentist suspected during an exam that he had a brain tumor and because of this an Israel medical team operated on him and saved his life. Later he was among the 1,000 terrorists Israel traded in 2011 for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Sinwar repaid the favor by launching the October 7 attack. Ironically, the dentist’s nephew was among the many Israelis killed.

Of course that story wasn’t in the article.

Most of those interviewed for this article were not directly affected by the massacre and kidnapping. Most were relatively unscathed. Yet that’s another thing reporter Isabel Kershner doesn’t get. For Israelis, every tragedy is personal. It’s doesn’t have to be a loved one. Thousands show up for funerals of those they don’t know. They prepared food packages, BBQs, tefillen and supplies for soldiers. They babysit those who lost loved ones. They take care of seniors and displaced people.

Kershner did mention that the Israeli media didn’t focus on the 270 Palestinians the Gaza Health Ministry claimed were killed during the recent rescue operation of four Israelis from Gaza. (The Israeli military reports that the number was closer to 100, also left out of the story.) What Kershner didn’t include was that the number of so-called civilians killed was so high because they chased after the rescue vehicle using RPGs and high powered guns in order to prevent the Israeli soldiers from completing their rescue mission. It was a case of self-defense. But again, that doesn’t fit the Times’ narrative.

Why would the Times put such a blatantly one-sided report on the front page? One can only conclude that it was designed to fit their intention of portraying Israel as being undeserving itself of sympathy. In reality, what they printed wasn’t news, it was propaganda.

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About the Author
Gina Friedlander is obsessed with all things Israeli. She served as editor of several trade magazines in the health and supplement industries before switching careers and becoming a high school English teacher and tutor of English and SAT prep. Currently she spends her time visiting Israel, writing, playing tennis, doing Israeli folk dancing, and trying to stay positive.
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