It was on the front pages of all the Israeli papers as well as foreign publications like the New York Jewish Week and the New York Times – Bibi Netanyahu’s new nemesis – but the story of ultra-Orthodox demonstrations in Jerusalem in late December was ignored by the Daily Alert, a publication distributed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and prepared by a right wing Israeli think tank.
Also conveniently ignored were other recent clashes involving efforts by the ultra-religious to impose their will on other Israelis, whether they are modern Orthodox or secular. Gender segregation on public transit and neighborhood sidewalks made headlines, as did haredi men spewing curses at children and others who they disapproved of.
As noted, these stories filled the headlines and broadcast news of all Israeli media and much of the American and other foreign media. But if you depend for news about Israel on the Daily Alert, which goes to Jewish organizations, leaders and activists around the country, these things never happened.
The Daily Ostrich just buries its head and the news it doesn’t fit its political agenda.
All that appeared this week was one pollyanish item at the bottom of Tuesday’s report essentially denying anything was wrong and declaring, "Israel society is extremely healthy." If there has been any "bad behavior" by a "marginal few" it was "provoked" by a conspiracy of leftists and socialists seeking to undermine the right wing nationalist-religious governing coalition.
That was all the news the Daily Ostrich considered fit to print about one of the most serious social problems facing Israeli society today.
However, the was ample space for less newsworthy matters like "Natural Gas Found Off of Cyprus," "UN Slams Sharp Rise in Saudi Arabia Executions in 2011," "Israeli Brothers Win World Debating Championship," "Rafsanjani's Daughter Sentenced in Iran," "15 Growing Israeli Startups to Watch in 2012," "Mediator in Taliban-U.S. Talks Backed Kashmir Jihad," and "Cal State's Chutzpah."
Those responsible for the Daily Ostrich not only ignored the controversy, but they are trying to paper it over. The publication may tell nothing about the big story but tells much about itself: it is little more than a transparent propaganda organ representing a narrow segment of Israeli society and the American Jewish hierarchy.