Beard? Gun? Stethoscope?

Posted on March 17th, 2011

Did you see the story? It is in the Israeli press and making the rounds on Facebook. You can find the details in my post on HonestReporting, but basically settlers and soldiers in Itamar — scene of the recent terrorist attack — saved the life of a Palestinian woman and her baby. It’s an amazing story, and I hope people keep sharing it until the mainstream media is forced to write about it.

I know that the media is reluctant to cover the story because that is not the image of settlers they want to portray. They prefer the extremists who prance around screaming that we should kill all the Arabs or ship them off to Saudi Arabia. Pictures of settlers must all show men with long beards (obviously religious extremists.)

That’s more like it

Settlers must all have guns, the bigger the better. If they can get a gun-waving, long bearded settler waving a Bible and an axe for chopping down Arab olive trees, then that’s front page material. Sometimes I think they must have Baruch Marzel on speed dial. “Hey Baruch, we’re doing a story on settlements, can you come pose for us? Maybe fire the gun in the air?”

Of course they also need to find stories on IDF soldiers abusing Palestinian children. You can read all about how the media depicts Israeli soldiers in the HonestReporting photo bias study. Basically, they prefer out of context pictures of soldiers pointing guns at children or standing guard next to barbed wire. When they do find the rare story of an IDF soldier who is actually guilty of abuse, they have a field day.

How many times did we all hear about the soldier who shot the Palestinian in the foot? I’m not defending the case at all, just pointing out that the media are obsessed with the idea of  evil, out of control soldiers who shoot random Palestinian civilians.

So it is no wonder that they are reluctant to cover the story of settlers and soldiers saving the life of a Palestinian baby and her mother. It just doesn’t fit the narrative. We are supposed to be shooting the Arabs, not saving them. Remember, we “occupy” this territory and for there to be peace, we need to leave.

But the truth is that these stories are far from rare. The Palestinians know it which is why they seek out medical assistance from settlers and soldiers all the time. And we provide it.

A friend with the police once told me that he was called to protect the medical center in Efrat. An elderly Palestinian woman having a heart attack was brought there in the middle of the night. A whole crowd had accompanied her and the Israeli doctors were afraid what would happen if they could not save her. Yes, settler doctors had to be protected while trying to save the life of a Palestinian.

The fact is that there are far more stories of settlers and soldiers saving Palestinian lives than there are of soldiers shooting people in the foot or settlers vandalizing Palestinian mosques. But you may not know it because the press is just not interested in this narrative.

But for those who think all settlers should leave, who will save the Palestinian babies?

Hamas Memorial Hospital?

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Comments

  1. rutimizrachi says:

    It is important for stories like this to “go viral,” so that people will have the opportunity to view this complex and beautiful country in all its colors and textures and shades. The MSM doesn’t like to work that way — at least where Israel and the Jews are concerned.

    Years ago, a friend told me she became religious because of one photograph. After a bombing in Jerusalem, a bearded, kippa- and tzitzit-wearing ZAKA worker comforted a distraught and injured woman. The photo captured the moment as he laid a hand gently on her shoulder. And my friend realized that there were layers to Jewish laws, and the black and white stereotypes she’d been fed weren’t true.

    May you and others like you share the stories that defeat the evil of unquestioned stereotypes.