Friday, June 28, 2002

Reading both Jpost and Haaretz is a good combination for getting hard news. If Jpost has an eentsy leaning towards shrill reporting once in a while, I still prefer it to the antiseptic, foreign media style that shows up in Haaretz. When it comes to analysis, however, Haaretz is increasingly tedious (aside from Ze'ev Schiff) - I'm now giving Yediot Aharonot a shot and it actually seems to be a better source for a left-wing perspective even though it's a tabloid.

Haaretz TV critic Benny Ziffer describes a documentary on suicide bombers broadcast on the French/German Arte channel:
To begin with, it is sad to the point of tears that we had to wait for a French director - Simone Bitton, whose 1999 documentary film "The Bombing" is about a terrorist attack in Jerusalem - to take me, in my country, to see things I could not have seen before. I never heard the composer Zvi Avni, for example, tell about the human head he saw on the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, not far from the cafe where he was having coffee with the director, a head as perfect as a classical sculpture, the sight of which seemed to transfix him. I never heard that, because the head belonged to the terrorist who blew himself up.

Nor have parents of victims of terrorist attacks been heard much to say in public that they do not hate the murderer of their child. In Israeli eyes, these parents are insane for traveling to the village where the terrorist lived, the village of Asira al-Shamaliya, which has produced four suicide bombers, and meeting with the family of one of them in an attempt to understand. And when that proved insufficient, they went to a Palestinian psychiatrist for further insight. The only answer the psychiatrist could offer was that the suicide bombers are people who feel that they are bearing the burden of the national defeat on their shoulders.

And the image of the four suicide bombers holding hands on the roof of the Palestinian prison in Nablus. And the parents of the suicide bombers: four pairs of bereaved parents, all of them no less tragic than Nurit Peled and her husband, whose daughter Smadar - granddaughter of Matti Peled, the army general who became a peace activist - was killed by a terrorist. And we heard the journalist Amnon Bierman, whose daughter was critically wounded in a terrorist attack, accuse Hamas and Benjamin Netanyahu in equal measure for what happened to her.

"Sad to the point of tears" that the Israeli media doesn't describe the transfixing head of the bomber? Is Ziffer being sarcastic?

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