There Are Statistics and There Are Lies

Reading any news item or analysis that relates to the right side of the political spectrum here in Israel, that is, what could be termed ‘nationalist’, ‘religious’, ‘conservative’. etc., is not only an art in itself, requiring special abilities but is very fraught with the possibility that one will never quite grasp what is going on.

Here is one small example.

Nir Hasson of Haaretz includes this in a report yesterday:

Meanwhile, according to Ir Amim, a nonprofit that seeks to make life in Jerusalem more equitable for Arab and Jewish residents, show that in 2015 the number of visits to the Temple Mount by Jews fell, for the first time in five years. In 2015, a total of 11,001 Jews visited the site, compared to 11,754 in 2014.

That was not just a simple piece of data.  Hasson’s article opened thus:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the Jordanians in November 2014 that he would stop Israeli politicians from visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and limit visits by right-wing activists, according to a new report by an international organization devoted to resolving conflicts around the world. A local nongovernmental organization, meanwhile, reported declines in the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount and in violence clashes at the site.

In other words, that Ir Amim statistic is the proof of the claim in the Crisis Group report.

Whether or not Prime Minister Netanyahu has indeed restricted access, and he has denied it, you cannot grasp what Hasson is doing, and to do so, a reader must take two things, at least, into account in assessing whether he/she will rely on Hasson:

a) without knowing how many days the Temple Mount was closed to Jews in 2015, mainly due to Muslims artificially creating more demands than previously for banning Jews on ‘holy’ days that didn’t exist in years past as well as more rioting which led police to ban Jews, Ir Amim’s insinuations based on the police data is meaningless as regards the supposed diplomatic kowtowing.  Moreover, the fact is that the attempted assassination of Yehuda Glick is another factor that must be worked in.

b) since September, the number of all Jewish visitors to Jerusalem and especially the Old City has dropped due to Arab terror violence of the knives and car-rammings and that, of course, would affect the number of Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.

That Hasson does not mention those numbers is simply a matter of media bias.  I do not know if he purposefully left them out or never even considered the other side of statistics, being a Haaretz reporter, but nevertheless, you, the media consumer, need be aware.

About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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