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.


I Bet He Wished He Had IDF Soldiers in France….

This is ironic. A left wing film director was in France to get an award for his anti-IDF film, and in the process he was beaten up by a group of Arabs. I am sure he would have liked a few IDF soldiers with him when that happened…..

Controversial Israeli Films Fail to Win Oscars

Two Israeli films that contain controversial content (Israel bashing, of course, what else?) have failed to win the Oscar award. They join other Israeli films that portray the IDF in a bad light who have been nominated but have not won the Oscar in the  past.

A pr0-IDF group has put out a spoof of this phenomenon (sorry, no English subtitles yet). For those of you who do not understand Hebrew, the directors of the film keep cutting the scenes when the soldiers tell the truth about what happened, and only put in what makes the IDF look bad. This spoof is funny, but sadly enough, true.

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).

Hamas Lies

Don’t believe everything you read in the papers – especially from Hamas. Here are a series of videos with a list of their lies:

Silverstein Gets Taken in Again….

Well, this was entertaining, I have to say. Ynet is reporting that blogger Richard Silverstein has received a – supposedly – top secret attack plan by the IDF, detailing how they would attack Iran.

As if someone with this kind of sensitive information would actually leak it to a …blogger, especially one who has been fooled in the past.  (Make sure to read the whole post – it is hilarious.)

There is a lot of stuff in the papers now about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran soon, as I have written a number of times this week. Whether it is to prepare the Israeli public for an upcoming war, or if it is to put some psychological pressure on Obama to support Israel and have America do the attack, or if it is to put pressure on Iran, or all three – the chance that the exact details about an Israeli attack being leaked is very small.

Come on people, this is Israel we are talking about – not America. We live in a very tiny country (geographically speaking, of course). Someone with the kind of security clearance needed for this kind of information is intelligent enough to know that there is no safe place to hide in Israel if our enemies attack with nuclear weapons, and would not compromise our plans for taking out those weapons. Second, anyone getting caught leaking this kind of stuff will go to jail for a long time.

Someone is pulling Silverstein’s leg – big time.

On a Lighter Note…Introducing Yaldah Magazine

I received an email from the founder of Yaldah magazine, who thought I would be interested in helping promote this magazine written by and for Jewish girls. Leah Caras started the magazine when she was 14, and it has grown and prospered.

The magazine is now holding a Bat Mitzvah Essay Contest. Girls aged 8-15 are eligible. If you know a girl who would be interested have her check out the contest at this link.

The magazine looks great, and is a wonderful example of how girls can be creative and accomplished, without denying their own femininity and inherent modesty.

Chalk One Up for the Squares

When it comes to technology, I am very old fashioned. I have a cell phone – and I use it to make and receive phone calls. If I have to I send a few text messages. I also turn off my phone when I get home from work. If someone needs to get in touch with me, they call the house phone. (It took my extended family awhile to figure this out, and some think I am a bit weird).

What is worse, westbankpapa and I are very old fashioned when it comes to our kids and cell phones. We bought them ones that can make phone calls, send texts, take pictures, and play music – but do not have internet. The end result is that when our kids want to go onto the internet, they do so from our computer, with our Internet Rimon (an Israeli internet provider that screens out nasty stuff). They also have to share the computer with the rest of the family (no laptops for us), so by nature their total time on the internet is limited (and we kick them off when they have been on for too long, even if noone else wants the computer).

As you can imagine, it has caused a bit of conflict with the teenagers, and we have been accused of being unbelievably square.

I don’t mind being called a square – it reassures me that I am doing my job as a mother. This past few days I received another sign that we made the correct decision.

We had friends over recently and they brought their teenagers. Each one had an Ipad, and throughout the afternoon they played with them. When the discussion turned to something interesting, they would join in, and they would of course answer questions politely when addressed. When the discussion was “boring”, or did not concern them personally, they would play their games and check their Facebook pages. My kids of course did not do this.

After they had left my son mentioned this behavior to me. He told me that he has a friend who drives him crazy – because he can’t stop playing with the Ipad. “I even told him once – turn off your phone, I am trying to talk to you!”

At Pesach someone gave me a copy of Jewish Action, the magazine of the OU. There was an article in there about kids who, although they are Orthodox, they keep what is called “half Shabbos”. This means that they keep most of the laws regarding the Sabbath, but they use their phones to text to friends (which is against Jewish law). I was completely shocked. I could not understand how kids could be so addicted to this little machine, that they justify breaking Shabbat. (I am not sure if it happens here in Israel).

We need to put the latest technological tools in perspective, and we have to teach our kids to do the same. Just because you have email, does not mean that you have to be connected to the computer for most of the day so that you can check it.  Just because you have a cell phone, does not mean that you have to be available to anyone who wants you at all times. When you are with other people, you have to be “with” other people. There is a reason it is considered rude to answer a phone call when you are in the middle of a conversation with someone else. The only exception should be medical personnel who are on call. (During work hours there are exceptions of course).

If I am considered square for insisting on this, so be it.

More Rocket Fire, and the IAF Reacts

The terrorists in Gaza fired rockets into Israel, and the IAF (Israel Air Force) responded by bombing terrorist tunnels and a weapons factory in Gaza. It bothers me that the title of the article in focusses on the IAF’s actions, and only in the sub-head and body of the article does it say that it is a reaction to rocket fire. Someone just reading the headlines gets the wrong idea.

And this is from an Israeli website. Maybe I should be a nudnik (a pest) and write a talkback along these lines (that the headline is distorted) every time an Israeli website does this, but I am not sure that I have the time or patience. Any volunteers?

Peace Now – Taking Charity From Those Who Need It

Last year Bank Leumi launched an interesting drive to help small charities in Isreal. Called “Millions of Reasons”, they invited small charities to make up a video explaining their group, and these were put on the Leumi Youtube channel. Bank Leumi pledged to give money to the top charities, and let the people decide who should qualify by voting by internet. Not only did the small charities earn money, they received a lot of good publicity and volunteers.

This year they decided to run the drive again. Unfortunately, the left wing group Peace Now has killed it. Im Tirzu, a group that promotes Zionism on Israeli campuses, was in the top five charities in the competition. Peace Now threatened Bank Leumi that they would have all of their members close their bank accounts with Bank Leumi if they didn’t disqualify them from the competition (claiming that the organization is political. It seems that to Peace Now, Zionism means right wing.)  Bank Leumi refused to do this, and when the left wingers continued their protests they decided to cancel the drive altogether.

You have no idea how awful this is. If you look at the charities represented, you will see a wide range of organizations that help both people and animals. Soup kitchens, battered women’s shelters, organizations that help children with disabilities, animal shelters, health organizations fighting diseases like ALS, and an umbrella organization helping gays and lesbians, are just some of the 139 charities that will now not receive needed funds and publicity.

It makes me want to cry. I was about to write a post asking my readers to vote for “Knefaim shel Krembo” -(they were number five on the list when the competition was halted) the only Israeli youth group for teenagers with disabilities, which doesn’t receive government funding. My son volunteers for this group once a week, and the teenager he helps is someone who can blink his eyes and smile, but he cannot move any other muscle in his body. This boy gets out and has a social activity once a week thanks to this organization, that is dependent on donations and volunteers. If Knefaim had made the top ten, they would have received 200,000 shekels.

I urge you to go see what this wonderful group does.



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