It's so seldom that we can find news articles about the Israeli society in our Arab newspapers or see the smallest reports on our TV stations. Many of us are even hesitant to search online or watch YouTube videos about Israel because we know that the door can give out hard knocking sounds in the middle of the night and, again, we know what the secret or political police are capable of doing.
Our mainstream Arab media has a love for portraying stories of soldiers in green shooting unarmed teenagers and hardline men in civilian clothes torturing students and women. The truth is that this is actually happening and it's only fair to report such crimes against humanity but there's a journalistic duty that they're ignoring; the duty of delivering a full scope to the public. This has been happening for decades throughout our Arab world. It happens to certain degrees depending on how fanatic our governments want us to be. Alas, continuous exposure to propaganda from a young age will turn people to fanatics against whatever the official department of communications want.
The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz has published an article by a writer called Yarden Zur entitled "Tel Aviv Schools Defy State" in which she explains why all the Tel Aviv schools have decided to defy instructions laid by the Israeli Ministry of Education requiring them to celebrate the memory of General Rehavam Ze'evi who was assassinated by Palestinians in 2001. Miss Zur reports the reasons for the move to defy the ministry's orders. She lists criminal affiliation ties and sexual misconduct as two of those reasons. Up to this point, a reader can imagine how interested Arab news and propaganda mediums would be in reporting this event. It is the kind of news that can serve their fanatical hidden and not so hidden agendas. A celebrated army career general and minister has mafia ties and rapes women. The schools of Tel Aviv are rebelling against the government. This is perfect!
But, then Miss Zur continues with the reasons why the school principals have chosen to defy their higher authority. She repeats more than once and throughout her article that these educational institutions are doing so because the General practiced an ideology of racism, ethnic cleansing and mass deportation of Palestinians. She quoted parents of students calling General Ze'evi's actions as "disgusting". She even added the fact that the general had shot 2 Arab Bedouin men once and she made sure to put the adjective "innocent" before the noun "Bedouin". This is not perfect anymore!
It is almost as if any act of objectivity or the faintest empathy exhibited by any Israeli towards Arabs and their rights is dismissed as bad news in most of the Arab world and hence not reported. Only hardline generals, politicians, and writers are reported. This is how you brainwash whole populations; it is how you make your people demand that you stay in power to protect them from the terror of a neighbor who wants your children dead. This is how we end up with dictators who stay in power more than the kings they had rebelled against.
There are people in Israel who cherish human rights and have broken the fictitious walls of fear that their hardliners have tried to build around their powers of reasoning and their tendency to be accepting towards anyone and everyone. The more you look at the Israeli society the better you understand that this class of the Israeli population is by no means a minority. We should take these people as an example and do the same. We should point out what is right and what is wrong based on human values and not political ones. Do we not have our own editions of General Ze'evi? Are they not celebrated by our regimes just like General Ze'evi is by his government? Do we not know that we, by celebrating our Ze'evis, are branding ourselves as hypocrites and thus, unworthy of peace directly with who really matters and not their government?
We should show that we are not in agreement with the hate rhetoric and the war mongers. Let us meet our Israeli moderate neighbors at least halfway.