Censor keeps Israelis in the dark as world learns of Jordan embassy saga

While the world press reports on developments in Jordan, Israeli media forced to play catch up.

By
July 24, 2017 10:09
2 minute read.
Israel Jordan

Jordanian police outside Israeli embassy in Amman . (photo credit: SOCIAL MEDIA)

 
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The world knew about it, reported on it, but in Israel there was nothing.

For about 11 hours between 7 p.m. Sunday night and 6 a.m. Monday morning, Israelis were forbidden from reporting on the events taking place in Jordan.

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The fact that social media was full of the news about an apparent attack near the Israeli embassy in Amman and stories had been published by Reuters, Fox News, the Independent and elsewhere, meant nothing. In Israel, journalists could not send out a tweet or post a word on Facebook. Everything about the attack was banned for publication by the Military Censor’s Office.

Shortly before the incident was placed under censorship, some information got through. Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova managed to launch a tweet saying only that there was a “dangerous security incident” at the embassy in Jordan.

Svetlova called on the Jordanian government to take all the necessary steps to ensure the security of the personnel at the embassy.

The details of the attack on an Israeli security guard became available as the night progressed and foreign outlets, including news agencies, reported on the developments.

But in Israel, complete radio silence.

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Of course anybody with internet access and basic English or Arabic reading skills (or the ability to use online translation services) could learn all about it easily. News reports appeared on all the major international media. Everyone was reporting about the incident. The only ones who didn’t know were Israelis.

Slightly before midnight, the Jordanian General Security Administration released an official statement saying that the incident was being investigated. But Israeli media couldn’t even report that.

Reporters couldn’t even alert readers in Israel to the fact that the Foreign Ministry decided to evacuate all it staff from the Israeli embassy in Amman, out of concern that the incident may cause riots outside the embassy, or that the move was stymied by Jordan.

It was that reason that the full censorship of the incident remained in place until Monday morning, hours after the incident.

Censorship was finally lifted early Monday morning. At this point Israel still has not fully evacuated embassy staff and the Jordanians have still refused to let the guard be transferred back to Israel. Jerusalem claims the guard enjoys diplomatic immunity and is exempt from investigation by Jordanian authorities.

The decision to leave Israelis in the dark was criticized by Israeli journalists and politicians. Unlike previous incidents, in this case Israelis were also prohibited from citing foreign media sources for the story.

At a time when information flows freely on the internet, many questioned the need for the censorship, which journalists and pundits argued Monday morning, was out of touch.

More details to follow... maybe.

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