web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Columns »

Changing Public Opinion One Book At A Time

The onslaught against the Jewish state has begun.
 
In just the past few weeks, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, an Egyptian mob stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo and ransacked the premises, and the Palestinians reaffirmed their insistence on seeking UN approval for a unilateral declaration of statehood.
 
This worrying series of events portend what is likely to be mounting pressure on Jerusalem in the coming months, as attempts will be made to turn up the heat on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
 
Much of the focus will of course center on the growing Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem.
 
The critics will moan and gripe: if only those stubborn Israelis would just capitulate already and give the Palestinians what they want, all would be well in the Middle East and peace would finally prevail.
 
This, of course, is utter hogwash, the wishful thinking of those who deliberately ignore history and its lessons.
 
They conveniently forget that the PLO was founded in 1964, three years before Israel even assumed control of Judea and Samaria.
 
They also overlook the fact that the Palestinians rejected offers by former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert that would have given them virtually all of the territories.
 
Nonetheless, with a sleight of hand that would make even the most accomplished magician proud, Israel’s detractors still manage to paint Jewish “settlers” as the source of all that is wrong.
 
Consider the following. On August 26, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced it was giving a permit to Jews living in Hebron to expand an already existing structure known as Beit Romano in order to house a kindergarten for Jewish children.
 
What should have been a non-story instead made international headlines, with everyone from the Associated Press to the San Francisco Chronicle writing about this “breaking news.”
 
Needless to say, the move was denounced by the usual suspects as though Jewish children engaged in finger-painting constitute a war crime.
 
Where else in the world does a decision to open a kindergarten merit such attention?
 
This is just a sign of how badly tarnished the image of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria has become.
 
In account after account, and story after story, they are portrayed in the most devious of terms, even by some of their fellow Jews.
 
Indeed, with the exception of literally just a handful of outlets, it is hard to think of a journalistic platform that gives them a fair shake.
 
Changing that negative perception after so many years of monolithic media brainwashing will be no easy task.
 
But reminding the public that Jewish settlers are human beings with hopes, dreams, accomplishments and disappointments, just like anyone else, is something that is urgently needed.
 

Fortunately, a young American-Israeli author has decided to do just that.

Josh Hasten, the president of Bar-Am Public Relations in Jerusalem, has written a new children’s book with a simple yet compelling message.
 
Titled Itamar Makes Friends: A Children’s Story of Jewish Brotherhood, it aims to tear down the stereotype, the sense of “otherness” that has come to characterize Jewish settlers in the minds of many.
 
The book, released by Gefen Publishing, tells the story of a young boy named Itamar from Judea and Samaria who visits the big city, only to encounter hostility and enmity at the hands of three local teens.
 
But the barriers of mistrust and antagonism are eventually broken, leading all to realize that they share more in common than they originally thought.
 
In a special note to parents at the end of the book, Hasten writes, “We as adults must learn that although someone lives in a different place or has different customs, traditions or worldviews, we really are all fundamentally alike.”
 
In other words, our sense of Jewish solidarity and brotherhood must override any other differences that may exist, regardless of whether the subject at hand is the Jews of Johannesburg, Jersey City or Judea.
 
Hasten’s book, which is slated to be translated into Hebrew, marks an important first step in what needs to become a coordinated effort to humanize the Jews of Judea and Samaria, and portray them in a more balanced and sympathetic light. This is the only way to begin to (re)build greater public support for their pioneering efforts in the heartland of Jewish history.
 
If even our fellow Jews do not fully appreciate their sacrifices and dedication, it is hard to see how we can expect the rest of the world to do so either.
 
So let’s put aside the prejudice and bigotry of the mainstream press, and remember one important truth: the Jews of Judea and Samaria, like Jews everywhere, deserve our help and support.
 
 

Michael Freund is a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is the founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization which assists the Bnei Menashe and other “lost Jews” to return to the Jewish people. 

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Changing Public Opinion One Book At A Time”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas terrorists often misfire their rockets that explode in Gaza civilians areas.
‘Hamas Fired from UN School Area and Prevented Evacuation’ Says IDF
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF soldier injured in Gaza is evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital.

The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay is calling for an investigation of Israel's military actions in Gaza. (archive photo)

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

Clinton-051614

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Shakespeare had it right. The evil that men do indeed lives after them. Case in point: Nahum Goldmann, who served in a variety of Jewish and Zionist organizational leadership posts from the 1920s through the 1970s.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/changing-public-opinion-one-book-at-a-time-2/2011/09/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: