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What Threatens Israel’s Media?

The main item on State Radio Channel 2’s agenda recently was Channel 10’s apology to Sheldon Adelson. Some background: A few months ago, Channel 2 News broadcasted a lengthy report accusing the billionaire founder of the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Yisrael Hayom, Sheldon Adelson, of illegally gaining rights to build a casino. The report turned out to be false and the station was forced to broadcast an apology. The media claimed that the Channel 10 stockholders, who feared financial repercussions by Adelson, coerced the staff to apologize. Karen Noibach also devoted precious airtime to performer Yehudah Pollicker. Israel Army Radio featured the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Afterwards, the two stations switched stories.


The day before those broadcasts, an Egyptian mob had burned Israel’s embassy in Egypt. Six Israelis were extricated by the skins of their teeth, with just one door separating them from the Egyptian rabble that threatened to tear them to pieces. In response, Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the Egyptians for the rescue and thanked President Obama for something – although it is not clear what. He promised that Israel will build an embassy in a safer place and reiterated that peace with Egypt is an important asset. Netanyahu also said that Israel would find the way to reestablish good relations with Turkey.


There is no doubt that Israeli society and its leaders are still wallowing deep in the peace mentality – peace with Egypt and peace with the Palestinians based on Oslo, along with deep faith in the Americans. They cannot discern that the emperor has no clothes. They continue to cheer his royal attire and to alter their policies to fit those illusory garments.


It is wrong for a journalist to tailor his or her stand in the direction of big money just to ensure a successful career. But what is much worse is that a journalist who wishes to progress to the upper echelons of Israeli media must hide his or her nationalist views. Journalistic servitude to money is nothing compared to journalistic servitude to ideology. The journalists presently raising the roof over freedom of the press are really the last to talk.


Perhaps the best example of the media tyranny in Israel is not to look at what the media choose to broadcast, but what they choose not to broadcast. The very fact that on the day after Israel’s embassy in Cairo was burned, the Adelson agenda is what the media chose to hammer into our heads is proof that something is seriously wrong. Around Israel, our enemies are declaring war on us and the media is shouting that the sky has fallen because someone has forced them to apologize – truly a major threat to Israel’s existence!


I do not know if the media intentionally plan on not analyzing in depth what is happening around Israel, and not reconsidering the entire misconception of peace with Egypt and the surrender of Sinai. I do not know if they are burying our collective head in the sand because they understand the situation and are trying to hide it, or because they do not understand the situation at all. One way or the other, they have failed miserably.


I have also felt the strong hand of Sheldon Adelson and the private newspaper that he established. (What can I do? I do not always stand by Netanyahu.) Nevertheless, I can only rejoice that somebody understands the importance of opening Israel’s media to additional voices, and has invested the required funds to do so. The media have noticeably improved since Adelson’s paper has been published. They are much more balanced. Radical leftist Gabi Gazit, for example, no longer works at the radio station that pretends to be objective.


There is still no visible connection between Israel’s media and the ideological and moral make-up of Israeli society that is expressed, for example, in the results of elections. Nevertheless, Adelson can chalk up success by virtue of the fact that the media in Israel today are in a much better place than they were before the Expulsion from Gush Katif.

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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