New York Times Photo Bias Militarizes Israeli Kids

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It’s very difficult for non-Israelis to fully understand the role of the army in Israeli society. Given the security threats that Israel has faced throughout its history and continues to face, the centrality of the IDF to the lives of Israelis is understandable.

The New York Times attempts explain recent developments in Israel that have created perceived gaps between the military and the political echelons. Here’s one of the accompanying photos:

 

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What exactly is the message of the photo? Well that depends on whether you are familiar with Israeli culture, which most New York Times readers are not.

The most obvious reaction to this photo would be distaste that children are interacting with any kind of weaponry while promoting the portrayal of Israel as a highly militarized society. And what is a “traditional weapons display?” That the photo states its location “near a West Bank settlement” is also meant to add a sinister element to the image.

The reality is that on Independence Day, many IDF bases all over the country are open to the public. Israeli children have the opportunity to see the IDF up close much in the same way as American children are thrilled to see military paraphernalia on board the USS Intrepid docked in Manhattan, New York City.

While the photo may show Israeli girls handling a machine gun, you can guarantee that the weapon is not loaded and these girls are not receiving actual military training. Contrast this with Hamas and Islamic Jihad “summer camps” where Palestinian children actually undergo military training with the intent to murder Israelis. There is no moral equivalence between this and Israelis visiting military bases on Independence Day.

So why did the New York Times choose this particular photo to accompany the story? Unfortunately we probably know the answer.

You can send your comments to the New York Times – nytnews@nytimes.com

 

Photo credit: Guns free vector pack | Free vector by tariqelamine

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