Foreign media have outdone themselves proving their ignorance of Israel by several media establishment articles focusing on the dangers of hitchhiking and burying the thought that there might be something wrong with terrorists kidnapping three Israeli youth trying to thumb a ride home.
The Christian Science Monitor, the BBC and The New York Times and are only three examples of the mindset that has imprisoned “journalists” for decades when it comes to reporting on Israel. It is not open anti-Semitism and it not anti-Zionism, both of which simply are ingrained in the Western mentality that Jews are to blame for anything that goes wrong.
There is lot of truth to that, but that is for God and not journalists to decide. If the Associated Press had been around at the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, it would have reported that the Romans overpowered the Jews. It would not have told its readers that the Jews lost Jerusalem because of “loshon hara,” the practice of speaking evil about others and which Talmudic rabbis noted was the root cause of Israel’s downfall.
Today’s journalists are instant rabbis and know what makes God allows terrorists to masquerade as Jews and snatch three yeshiva students, as if they were lifeless bumps on the road that terrorists ride to hell.
Only two days after Naftali, Eyal and Gilad were abducted, the Monitor headlined, “Why were kidnapped Israeli teens hitchhiking in the West Bank?”
The journalists writing the article ever thought to ask the question, ”Why were Arabs, wanting a peaceful Palestinian Authority state kidnapping Jewish boys?”
The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner, a known leftist whose lack of objectivity is defined by her refraining from personal visits to Jews in the “occupied territories,” wrote an article headlined, “Abduction of Young Israeli Hitchhikers Spurs Debate on Conduct.”
One would think that the debate on conduct would be over whether it is proper for “militants” trying to pressure Israel to release terrorists, excuse me, “prisoners.” Of course, her concern really was the conduct of Jews, who have the chutzpah not only to live or learn in Judea and Samaria but also to hitchhike there.
And the BBC chimed in with, “Israel: Hitchhiking continues despite kidnap dangers.”
No one should be surprised at this New Age of being “fair,” a world in which there is no wrong but simply two sides of right, with terrorist and hitchhikers weighed together on the same scale. Terrorists are militants, if not freedom fighters, and Jews are settlers, if not illegitimate.
The Monitor article, by staff writer Christa Case Bryant, was preceded by this blurb: “Despite living in a conflict zone, many Israeli settlers hitchhike in the West Bank, often waiting for rides on roads frequented by Palestinian drivers.”
She led off the second paragraph by writing, “No one is questioning why they were hitchhiking late at night on a highway frequented by many Palestinians.” She explained that people try to hitch rides because of lack of patience but, more than that, by “a pioneer ethos fueled by faith and an unswerving belief in their right to this land. Most Israeli settlers are unwilling to be held hostage by fear of their Palestinian neighbors or by the United Nations, which has deemed their presence here illegal under international law.”
There are few settlers who hitch in order to show off or mock Arabs. My wife, I and our five children hitch in the southern Hebron Hills because we have to get from one place to next in an area where there are four or five buses from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and we represent the silent and not so silent majority.
Any journalist can find some young man or woman to say how he or she hitches because “this is our land and the Arabs can go to Jordan” but that is just a big mouth with nothing to say.
Settlers prove they can live where they want in Israel and that Arabs can go to Jordan by putting their legs where their mouths are. That is the ideology behind “hilltop outposts,” which, by the way, include an unusually large proportion of kids with super ADD and ADHD who probably would be in jail for drugs if they didn’t find an outlet such as playing the role of the forefather Abraham.
The Western media’s misunderstanding of hitchhiking also reflects their own paranoia in their own countries. When I took off one summer in the very early 1960s to hitchhike across the country from Baltimore, it was safe, except for the temptations of sin from which God had enough mercy on me to stand in the way.
Perhaps that explains an article in The New York Times Thursday by film director and author John Waters, who, according to the newspaper, “hitchhiked across the United States and lived to tell the tale.” The good ol’ United States really ain’t what it used to be..
Waters told the interviewer. “Picking up a hitchhiker is as much an adventure as it is to hitchhike. It’s a risk on both sides. And they’re good people, I think. Basically trusting. And they’ve been through something. Everyone had survived something, and they wanted to talk about it.”
That is not Israel. This is a small country with a big family that helps each other, even when fighting each other, and which knows its enemies, except for inexperienced teenagers who can’t see through the disguises that their terrorist kidnappers used to snare them off the road last Thursday.
Given the cock-eyed view from the West, it is understandable that Kershner wrote in the second paragraph in her article for the Times, “The abductions also have stirred more hushed debate over the conduct of Jewish settlers in the West Bank — particularly what many consider the cavalier practice of hitchhiking — and the price that Israel has paid to redeem its captives.”
A journalist can always find enough people to give a quote or two to state a prejudiced view, but what you expect when Kershner interviews people in the fancy Azrielli Mall in Tel Aviv and not at the Be’er Sheva bus station?
Everyone, of course, expressed their sympathy for the victims, but one woman added she was “’a little angry about the lack of responsibility” of Israeli youths hitchhiking at night in the West Bank. Another shopper browsing at a bookstore added that the West Bank was ‘prone to trouble.’”
That is about the same one-sided reaction the writer could have gotten, only to the other extreme, if she had interviewed people in the community of Beit El or Yitzhar, in Samaria.
The BBC contributed to the world’s ignorance of Israel by reporting that “travelers are likely to ignore a directive from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that ‘bans’ hitchhiking in the wake of the disappearance of three teenagers, it seems.”
It turns out the report is a bald-faced lie because in the very next sentence, the BBC quotes an Israeli newspaper as stating, that the Prime Minister “’directed’ all settlers and travelers in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] not to take rides offered by strangers.”
It is acceptable that the BBC does not understand Hebrew, but does it have a problem with English, also?
The office of Prime Minister Netanyahu said people should not take rides from ”strangers,” and that’s miles of a difference from a directive that “’bans’ hitchhiking altogether.
Buried in this entire discussion is the prejudice of the newspapers that the virtues and sins of hitchhiking are far more of a burning issue than the virtues and sins of your average terrorist kidnapping three yeshiva students.
The reportage is code. When the media establishment jumps on kidnap victims as being reckless because they hitch a ride where they know Arab terrorists may be roaming, it really means that the Jews are to blame because they live, oy, in Judea and Samaria.
That kind of reminds me of 20 some years ago when I was visiting my late parents in Baltimore and gave a talk at some local Jewish meeting on the real meaning of “peace,” the Oslo Accords and the Arabs’ displeasure with my living “beyond the Green Line.”
After what I immodestly considered an eloquent talk about the word “Shalom,” which is a synonym for God, which cannot even be uttered in the bathroom and which does not mean “make a deal,” and after explaining that the Arabs often throw rocks at us and try to shoot us, one gentleman stood up and asked, “Well, if the Arabs don’t want you there, why don’t you just move to Tel Aviv?”
Moving forward in time to September 2013, Sgt. Tomer Hazan was working with a Palestinian Authority Arab in metropolitan Tel Aviv. The Arab convinced his friend, an off-duty soldier to join him after work. They traveled to Samaria, where the Arab murdered his co-worker.
It is difficult to understand.
If the Arabs don’t want Jews living in Tel Aviv, why don’t the Jews just leave and hitch a ride back to Baltimore?
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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