The Newspaper Wars

I take the train every day to work now – so I have about twenty minutes of “quiet time” in the morning before I arrive at the office. (I call it “quiet time” because sometimes it is not so quiet – many people like to use their cell phones on the train, and frequently don’t realize that their voices are quite loud. I have heard more about certain people’s backed up toilets and the hospital stays of other people’s families than I care to…..)

I usually take the time to say my daily Tehillim, but afterwards I usually have some time left over. I started to take the free daily newspapers that are given out at the station. There is competition between two – Yediot Achronot (sometimes called Idiot Achronot by those who don’t like the rag) and Yisrael Hayom. I of course take Yisrael Hayom, since it has a right wing stance.

I can’t tell you how important this newspaper is. It used to be that the public was exposed just to the left wing point of view. Then Makor Rishon came along and started to change things. The problem with Makor Rishon is that it is still only bought by the dati leumi public, with a smattering of charedim and traditional Jews joining in. It doesn’t really reach most of the Israeli public.

The free daily newspaper does reach the Israeli public – and it can be a game changer.

The coverage of the financial situation and the budget cuts are a prime example. Yisrael Hayom had full coverage – and it skewered Yair Lapid. It had a full page spread just on what Lapid said about the economy in his campaign promises before the election, and what he says now that he is in a position of responsibility. It showcased a middle class family – and how much more they will be paying now in taxes, etc.

In the past the newspapers would do the same thing – but the left wing papers would put all of the blame on the Likud and especially Bibi Netanyahu. Now, with a more objective stance, the newspapers are putting the blame on both the Likud and Yesh Atid – as it should be.

You can’t underestimate the power of this communication tool. Those of us who are somewhat politically active and aware of the media and its power can see how important media bias is. Most people don’t think about it too much – they are too busy working and raising their families to get really involved. These people do read the papers though – especially if it is free and handed to them at a gas station or a train station. What is written in these papers has a lot of power.

The people behind Yisrael Hayom are doing a great service to Israel.

This Could Have Been My Family

Arabs threw rocks at cars and trucks last evening, and caused a serious accident, where a mother and her daughters were hurt seriously – the two year old baby is fighting for her life. This happened about a five minute drive from my house (and I had been in the area just a few hours before it happened).

Terror takes many forms. When the IDF and the Shabak (Israeli security services) have good information they can prevent the terrrorist attacks, especially suicide bombers and attempted kidnapping. When the terrorists see that they are not being successful, they send out their lesser troops – the stone throwers. The media doesn’t even report incidents of stone throwing (unless of course the IDF, while protecting its citizens, reacts “disproportionately” and then they report it far and wide) but make no mistake – rocks can kill.

The situation always gets worse when a big-wig comes to visit Israel from America. The terrorists need to make sure “they are on the map” in order to impress the VIP. A visit from the president of the United States is a ripe time for them to get active.

Where the Bible Comes Alive

A huge swarm of locusts has invaded an area in the Negev, and the Israeli agricultural authorities have sent out crop dusters to spray pesticides to kill them, before they wreak havoc and eat all of the vegetation in the area.

According to the article, they need to spray and kill them in the morning hours before the locusts warm up and fly onwards. The forecasters say the swarm will not go north towards the central area because of a cold front.

It really is pretty interesting that we are getting this “live” lesson about one of the plagues before Pesach (Passover).

Another Parent’s Nightmare

For those of us living in Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria)  tremping (hitchhiking) is a fact of life. We live in areas that are rural and the bus service is usually not adequate. Therfore adults and teenagers take rides with strangers.

For a long time we did not have a car and I took rides home to my yishuv after work (going to work was somewhat easier as I took rides with people I knew). As my sons grew older they also started to take tremps. I tell them that they need to travel with at least one other person, have their cell phone on at all times, and look carefully at the driver before getting into the car. With all of these precauations, I still get nervous when they do this.

Now the IDF has put out a video trying to discourage teens, especially those who live where we do, to avoid hitchhiking, because there are many terrorists who want to kidnap Israelis, like they did with Gilad Shalit. I wish I hadn’t watched the video, because it will give me nightmares.

I don’t think the video will affect the number of teens traveling like this though. During the spring months, when high school kids have a lot of bagriot (matriculation exams) the usual school schedule is practically suspended. A kid will have a day off to study before an exam, and then have to get to the school at 1:00 pm for the exam itself – and there is no school bus for them to take. Most parents are not available to drive kids to school in the middle of the day, and the busses are practically non-existent during the slow hours.

Both of my boys are learning to drive now, and will hopefully get their licenses soon. As much as I fear them driving I think this video will put that fear into persective.

True Grit – Israeli Style

I came across this video on the Aish HaTorah site, about an amazing young man who was critically injured during the Second Lebanon War, and has come back stronger than before. Please click on the link to be inspired.

Beautiful Video About Jerusalem

Danny Ayalon, the deputy Foreign Miinster, has created another wonderful video, this time on Jerusalem. (Thanks to Carl of Israel Matzav).

I Love Happy Endings

Elisheva Hai, the widow of Rabbi Meir Hai, who was killed in a terrorist attack a few years ago, remarried yesterday.

She is the mother of seven children, and she showed great courage in picking up the pieces of her life and moving on. She continues to live in Shavei Shomron, a yishuv near Kedumim, and her new husband will join her there.

What I find remarkable and inspiring, is that after the terror attack she not only put her life together – she went on to volunteer to help others. At one point she decided to do chesed by helping to arrange matches. After setting up her future husband with others, it was suggested that she go out with him herself, and the rest is history.

People sometimes wonder how Israel survives all of the terrorist attacks aimed at us. The answer is twofold – help from G-d, and the strength of our people. Elisheva Hai is just one example.

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