Humanizing Israeli Victims

As public support for Yasser Arafat and his corrupt regime reaches an all-time low, the media has begun to shift to a more sympathetic portrayal of Israeli society. This week, 5 articles focus on “positive” stories from an Israeli perspective, in the sense of telling the Israeli side of the story, and particularly humanizing Israeli victims of terror.

HonestReporting encourages members to contact your local editors and recommend that they publish similar articles.

Thanks to journalist Tom Gross for the research.

—– (1) USA TODAY —–

A page one story from USA Today declares that “Israelis have discovered ways to live with everyday terror.” Ellen Hale writes:

“Through small daily actions, deliberate public policies and subtle adjustments in the way they think, [Israelis] have found healthy methods of taking control of their lives and going about their business amid the chaos of war. Though they may have had to cut back on liberties they once enjoyed, most say they have learned to take pleasure in people and experiences they previously undervalued — (small moments with their families and friends).

“The day it re-opened, Cafe Moment [where 12 Israelis were killed on March 9] was packed with the families of those killed, as well as those injured in the blast, in a robust show of survival that someone called ‘non-violent revenge.’ Moment bomb victim Joseph Cohen, 50, spent two months recuperating in a hospital. He now walks with a cane, is partially blind and has pitted scars over his back from nails planted in the bomb. Yet, he returns to the cafe every day for a drink. Says Cohen: ‘I made myself do it. You have to. You live, or not.'”

Online at:

Comments to:


As the war against Iraq gathers steam, The Times of London published a profile of the Iraqi Jewish community. (“Iraq’s last Jews Wait in Fear for War” – Oct. 18)

Writer Ian Cobain makes mention of the often-forgotten Jewish refugees who were forced to flee Arab countries in the wake of Israel’s independence:

“Fifty years ago, there were about 350,000 Jewish people in Iraq. When the British marched into Baghdad at the end of the First World War a fifth of its citizens were estimated to be Jewish… After the creation of the state of Israel hundreds of thousands of Jews fled Iraq, at first slipping across the borders in small numbers, then joining airlifts organised by the Israeli Government.”

The Times reports on the remnants of the community today: “Today 38 [Jews] remain in the capital. In Basra, the once prosperous port in the south, there is just one old woman. In Mosul and Amarah, and other Iraqi cities where Jews had lived for more than two millennia, their communities have vanished without trace.” In Baghdad, the guardian of the only functioning synagogue said that he required “written permission from the Ministry of Information before I can talk to you, and then they will send one of their minders to sit in on the interview.”

Online at:,,3-450465,00.html

Comments to:


F. David Radler, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote a column “Boldly Standing Up for Israel,” in which he declares:

“It is not easy to be an Israeli today. They are faced with threats of terror, taunted by unyielding and unjust condemnation from the international community, yet the country continues to grow. So do its institutions.

“Israel and the United States are on the front lines of the war on terror for the same reasons. Both are free and both are democratic… The Sun-Times finds no moral equivalence between soldiers who protect the innocent and suicide bombers who murder them.

“We are also clear that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah-Tanzim are terrorists, not militants. Militants don’t bomb campuses — terrorists bomb campuses. Militants don’t explode buses — terrorists explode buses… When terrorists kill civilians in Israel, we have no problem labeling them the same as we label the al-Qaida terrorists of Sept. 11.”

Online at:

Comments to:


Whereas the regimes in Iraq and Saudi Arabia continue to make financial payments to the families of those who murder Jews, The Associated Press reports that Jews are rewarding those who save lives. (“Guard Rewarded for Stopping Bomber”)

Mikhail Sarkisov is the security guard who prevented last weekend’s massive attempted Tel Aviv beachfront terror attack. Sarkisov had checked the suicide bomber with a metal detector, which revealed something suspicious. When the man put his hand in his pocket, Sarkisov tackled the bomber with his bare hands.

Sarkisov is now staying as a complimentary guest for nine days in a luxury Israeli hotel, while counting reward money from at least three private sources, including a Swiss Jewish millionaire. In addition, the security company that employs Sarkisov gave him a promotion and is paying a year’s rent for a Tel Aviv apartment.

AP reports that more than 250 Israelis have been killed in more than 70 Palestinian suicide bombing attacks during two years of violence.

Online at:

Comments to:


The Washington Post reports on private philanthropists who have helped ease the crisis of Israelis stricken by terror. In the article, “To Jewish Philanthropists, a Personal Thanks,” reporter Caryle Murphy writes:

“Shoshana Gottlieb calls herself a survivor, not a victim. So when the 49-year-old Israeli told 1,000 other Jewish women at [a Washington] conference how she ended up paralyzed from the chest down, she spoke without tears or traces of self-pity. It was her audience that cried. Addressing a darkened ballroom from her wheelchair, Gottlieb, a mother of four, told how she was left paraplegic when Palestinian snipers fired on a van ferrying her home from work in February 2001.

“The export-import manager for an Israeli chemical company then thanked the women for the gift they helped make possible: a device that lets her navigate the stairs in her multistory apartment building. ‘There are no words,’ Gottlieb said to her subdued and sometimes sobbing listeners, ‘to describe my appreciation.'”

Online at:

Comments to: