Separated by seven weeks and a single city block, two bombings in Tel Aviv met
with radically different media coverage befitting the different
The news flash that emerged midday on Thursday seemed like
a mistake, a flash of déjà vu emerging from the non-stop coverage of the worst
storm in years.
A bomb had exploded in a car in central Tel Aviv, just
outside the Kirya defense headquarters, virtually the same exact announcement
that spread like wildfire midday on November 21, when a bomb exploded on a bus
near the Kirya on the last day of Operation Pillar of Defense.
after Thursday’s attack, sirens could be heard, and minutes later it emerged
that the explosion was most likely criminal, a car bombing meant to take the
life of an Israeli mobster.
All similarities to the first terror attack
in Tel Aviv since 2006 quickly began to disappear.
On November 21, the
corner of Shaul Hamelech and Henrietta Szold streets hosted dozens of teams from
the international press and all Israeli news outlets, as talk of a cease-fire
with Hamas in Gaza appeared to detonate into thin air. The scene at Ichilov
Hospital, where most of the 28 people wounded in the bombing were taken, was
borderline mayhem, with reporters cramming the intake lobby of the emergency
room, interviewing doctors and waiting for a chance to speak to
Only a few Israeli reporters made their way to Ichilov on
Thursday, where a single victim gave a quick statement after checking himself
out of the hospital.
By then the corner of Menachem Begin and Shaul
Hamelech streets had been cleared, and news of the bombing was given the proper
proportion as a local, crime-related story, another in a long line of underworld
One Israeli cameraman at the scene laughed at the relatively large
number of Israeli media personnel present, saying that if the bombing had been
in Haifa or in Petah Tikva like two bombings in the past few weeks, it would
have received scant coverage.
In both bombings, no one, innocent or
otherwise, was killed, though both took place at midday at one of the most
packed spots in central Tel Aviv.
Both a remote-detonated bus bomb
planted by a Palestinian terror cell and a bomb affixed to a mobster’s car by an
assassin on a motorcycle can easily take the lives of innocent Israeli
civilians, as experience has proved time and time again.
the bombing happens outside the framework of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the
collateral damage born by innocent civilians is a local story at
There is no reason to expect the death or injury of Israelis in a
local act of crime to get anywhere near the same coverage as ones killed in
Palestinian terror attacks. Nonetheless, the scene surrounding Thursday’s
bombing, which took place so close to the site of the bombing on the last day of
Operation Pillar of Defense, shows the world of difference between Israelis and
Palestinians who die in the prism of conflict, and those who die at the hands of
criminals, spouses, or in traffic accidents on Israel’s roads.