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March 5, 2012 10:17 am

When Journalists Enable Attempted Murder

avatar by Josh Hasten

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Rioters using ambulance as cover to throw rocks at Israelis. Photo: wiki commons.

Last month Zehava Weiss, a young Jewish mother from Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem, was simply driving home from work, when her car came under attack. As she crossed through the Arab village of Beit Omar dozens of Arab teens began hurling rocks and bricks at her car with no other goal than ending her life.

“I saw the death in their eyes” she told Israel’s channel 10 in this horrifying video.

While Weiss escaped injury attacks like these happen on a nearly daily basis throughout Judea and Samaria. Despite the fact that they are rarely reported in the mainstream media, they are cause for great concern.

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Last September Arab rock throwers assaulted the car of 25-year-old Asher Palmer not far from where the attack against Weiss took place.  Palmer whose infant son was seated in his car seat in the back, lost control of this vehicle sending it careening off the side of the road. Both father and baby son lost their lives in the attack.  According to news reports, two Arabs have been indicted for murder in the incident.

But what’s just as disturbing if not more so is the fact that in the attack on Weiss’ car, members of the foreign press calmly stood by to take pictures and record videos of the assault.  In other words, the journalists on hand were notified in advance that a violent confrontation was going to take place and instead of alerting security personnel, decided instead to film the potential spilling of Jewish blood.

A journalist’s job is to cover the news as it happens, but when stories are manufactured and lives are at risk, cameras must be put away and cell phones should be taken out instead in order to save lives.

While CNN is often justifiably criticized for its coverage of Israel, I distinctly remember when Jerusalem-based CNN Video producer Michael Schwartz  did the right thing to save lives. During the so-called 2nd Intifada, Schwartz was working on assignment down in Gaza when an Arab sniper began firing at Jewish cars on the road to Gush Katif. Schwartz who was driving with his film crew and witnessed the gunfire firsthand, stopped his car and began alerting Jewish traffic coming from the opposite direction towards the danger that they were entering a firing zone.  Who knows how many lives were spared that day thanks to Schwartz’s morally commendable actions?

But Schwartz’s good deed should be the rule and not the exception.  Therefore it is Israel’s duty to investigate and find out who the journalists were who stood by as Weiss fled for her life. Those journalists should be stripped of their government press cards, and either arrested or deported as enablers in an attempted murder.

Since a deportation order must come from Israel’s Ministry of the Interior led by Minister Elie Yishai, it would be appropriate for the general public around the world who values the life of innocent motorists to take action by recommending that Yishai punish the journalists in this incident.  A strong message must be sent that while Israel offers freedom of the press, there are limits, especially when it comes to staged media events that might lead to murder.

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