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Sunday, February 05, 2006

'Settlers' Suffer from Poor Media Coverage

The saddest thing about this story is that it is probably true. The Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria need a really good public relations adviser. And soon....


In spite of the answer to that question having generally been yes, the settlers have little reason to take heart. Police brutality is always a good story - especially when there's so much evidence of it on tape. But the fact that so many settlers got their heads bashed in doesn't necessarily lead to an outpouring of sympathy for them, as Thursday's newspapers indicated.

Yediot Aharonot's headline was "Outpost of Hate," backed up by a poll showing that 57 percent of the public blamed the settlers and only 16% the police. Another headline on the same paper's front page was "Them and Us." And the gist of the articles was that the settlers had crossed every red line.

Ma'ariv was a bit more even-handed, placing part of the blame on the police. But editor Amnon Dankner concluded that Amona had been "A Victory for the Law."

Interestingly, it was the left-leaning Haaretz that was most critical of the police, with military correspondent Amos Harel terming its behavior "an overreaction" and quoting senior government sources and high-ranking IDF officers criticizing the police's actions. This is not to say that the paper had any kind words for the settlers, who were also blamed for using excessive violence.

ALL IN all, the media coverage of Amona was pretty accurate in two ways. Firstly, the fact that most of the press placed greater emphasis on the police violence than on the settler stone-throwing was justified. In a democracy, law and order should be enforced with wisdom and moderation, both of which were found lacking on Wednesday.

Secondly, the lack of sympathy toward the settlers is an accurate reflection of the current public mood. Extensive public-opinon polling shows that the settlers have never been less popular. The reasons for this are debatable, but the fact remains.

Most Israelis couldn't care less right now if most of the settlements are dismantled, and consider the settlers a nuisance at best, and a threat to their own peaceful lives at worst.


The settlers, on the other hand, have a lot to worry about. Some of them will say that there's nothing new about the fact that they're fighting a losing media battle. The problem is that now it seems the war has already been lost. That the government is embarking on a settler-bashing campaign at the height of an election season - and even the Likud is finding it difficult to condemn it for fear of alienating mainstream voters - says it all.


At 1:03 AM, Blogger beej said...

I am in the US, safe and secure from the batons and horses and the vile that flows from the heart of these government officials. So, please, take that into consideration, and only fight this fight if you feel 100% this is what the L-rd would have you do.

Perhaps in this case it is HaShem who needs the PR, to remind the indifferent and apathetic of Israel what He has done, and what Israel is.

These young Settlers are like a young (and future)King David hurling a rock at Goliath. They are Joshua, and Caleb...they are Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo. As the L-rd said to Joshua and Caleb, 'Be strong and of good courage, for the L-rd your G-d is with you wherever you go. And as Joshua said..As for me and my house, we will serve the L-rd.'

I do not believe it is the 'settlers' or the 'illegal outposts' that Olmert, et al, oppose, but that these are religious young men and women. They are obviously more frightening than Hamas, this vital, vigorous religious group that still believes in the miracles of HaShem, of the waters parting, of manna from Heaven...all the miracles the Fathers told of. Olmert looks at these young and courageous and does not see 'men' but sees LIONS.

Be strong, and be of good courage, the L-rd your G-d is with you wherever you go.


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