'We can also use unusual forms of public diplomacy'

Yuli Edelstein: "Next time editor wants to run article about how terrible settlers are, maybe they’ll think about these pictures."

March 15, 2011 03:16
3 minute read.
The Fogel family, stabbed to death in Itamar

fogel itamar attack body bags 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Graphic photos of the bodies of the five members of the Fogel family murdered in their home in the Itamar settlement Friday night will hopefully have an effect on international media outlets when they write about Israel, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said Monday.

“Next time an editor somewhere in the world wants to run an article about how terrible the IDF soldiers or the settlers are, maybe they’ll think for a moment about these pictures first,” he said.

Israel moves to release graphic photos of slaying victims
PM: Abbas should condemn Itamar attack in PA media
Thousands bid farewell to Itamar terror victims

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Edelstein laughed off claims made by some that Israel was looking to exploit the tragedy for hasbara (public diplomacy) purposes, saying, “I don’t even have a response to this ridiculous claim. We didn’t create this attack, this attack happened, and the fact that we want the world to know what we’re dealing with is our obligation.”

He declared that “our goal in sending out the photos was clear: to show that this attack crossed all lines. And to show that Israel can also take unorthodox steps in hasbara.”

Ministry spokesman Gal Ilan said earlier Monday that the pictures had been sent out because “the reality today is that the state of Israel is dealing with an organized campaign of incitement and delegitimization of Israel’s right to exist. In instances like this, we know that often the story is distorted or the message that makes it out to the media is the other side’s message only.”

Ilan also mentioned the case of 12- year-old Muhammad al-Dura, who was shot dead after being caught in a crossfire between IDF troops and Palestinian combatants in the early days of the second intifada. Video images of the incident galvanized global public opinion against Israel.

Ilan said that that image and others illustrated how “in an incident like this, a visual can be more important than any words that can be given.”


On Sunday, Edelstein instructed GPO director Oren Helman to publish the photos, on the Fogel family’s condition that the faces be blurred. The pictures spread quickly on social networking sites, but Israeli newspapers did not publish the photos, in keeping with longstanding customs in the Israeli press against printing such pictures out of respect for the victims’ surviving relatives.

A large numbers of videos showing pictures from the murder scene were uploaded onto the file-sharing site, and at least one was taken down by the site for violating its regulations. The video was later returned, but restricted to users over 18 years of age.

Edelstein explained the decision on Sunday, saying, “We have never done anything like this before, but only these horrific pictures can make the world realize who Israel is dealing with.”

He noted that “I have never had a meeting overseas on the subject of public diplomacy in which I wasn’t asked why the images representing the Israeli side are so sterile, while those of the Palestinians are quite graphic. This is a very serious incident for us, but for too many people in the world, there is a neat and cozy picture of an Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this can help those people understand with whom we are doing business.”

On Monday, Yaron Fogel, brother of Udi Fogel – who was murdered along with his wife Ruth and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, five, and Hadas, three months – asked on Kol Hai radio, “Do we need the confirmation of the world that a despicable murder happened here?”

Fogel continued, “I don’t think that what serves Israel is the pictures, I think that what must serve Israel is the truth. A picture of little Hadas slashed in her bed won’t change the truth. Even when Hadas was alive, the truth was with us, and the truth is that the land of Israel is ours, so do we then need the approval of someone in the world that it is ours?”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN