Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO / Flash 90
Does this look like a scene where Israeli police might have shot "two Palestinian civilians," as CNN claimed?

CNN hit a new low this week by focusing on the deaths of two terrorists in the midst of their killing spree Tuesday morning in Jerusalem.

The news network headlined its report “Israeli police shot dead two Palestinian civilians” to describe the horrific terror attack that left blood flowing in a synagogue.

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Terrorists used hatchets, guns and knives to butcher their way through men at morning prayers in the Kehillat Bnei Torah Yeshiva synagogue on Agassi Street in the Har Nof neighborhood.

Shouting “Allah HuAkbar!” the terrorists began by stabbing worshipers before they opened fire. Two police officers fought back; one paid the ultimate price for his bravery.

Yet somehow, a CNN reporter managed to reach the conclusion that “Israeli police shot dead two Palestinian civilians.”

The italics are those of the writer, to emphasize the glaring inaccuracy of the headline which so outraged Samaria Regional Council media relations director Yossi Dagan. But CNN was really batting 1,000 on this one. The first headline to flash over the network was “Deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque.” That was followed by, “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians Killed in Jerusalem.”

The plain fact is, those two dead terrorists were Israeli Arab cousins from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukabar. One of them worked in the nearby grocery store. And but hardly civilians, given their actions.

Dagan has filed a formal complaint with the Government Press Office (GPO) against CNN reporter Ben Wederman who he charges with being responsible for the headline and the network’s distorted coverage of the attack.

“There is no reality elsewhere in the world where journalists can report a terror attack in this style,” Dagan stated. “This rule should also apply to foreign reporters in Israel. There is good and there is bad, there are killers and there are victims.

The media arena in recent years has become an equally important battlefield for Israel and it must use all the tools at its disposal to demand certain baselines in its media coverage. Coverage like this legitimizes the next murder; whoever loses in this, loses the next war as well.”

Hours later, CNN posted a curt apology for the “mistake” :

“As CNN updated its reporting on the terrorist attack on the synagogue in Jerusalem earlier today, our coverage did not immediately reflect the fact that the two Palestinians killed were the attackers.  We erred and regret the mistake.”

The death toll from Tuesday’s murderous rampage rose from four to five by evening, when critically wounded Israeli Druze police officer Zidan Sayif lost his fight for life at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. It was 30 year old Sayif who saved numerous others when he engaged the two terrorists in a gun battle, drawing their fire to himself and forcing them to focus on him, rather than continue their slaughter of the worshipers. Sayif is survived by a wife and 4 month old daughter.

Six other male victims were wounded, including two who remain in critical condition, two listed in serious condition, one in fair condition and one in good condition at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center and Hadassah Medical Center, both in Jerusalem.

All four of those who were slaughtered instantly were prominent rabbis in the anglo community. Rabbis Arye Kopinsky, 43, Kalman Levine, 55 and Moshe Twersky, 59, were all American-Israeli dual citizens; Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, was a dual British-Israeli national.

All were laid to rest Tuesday afternoon. Police officer Sayif will be laid to rest at 2:00 pm Wednesday in his Galilee village of Yanuch-Jat. May their memories be for a blessing and may God avenge their blood.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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