Channel 10 News wanted so badly to prove that Muslim preachers in Israel and the occupied territories use their Ramadan sermons to incite against Jews. Something went wrong along the way.
By Anat Saragusti
“Incitement in Mosques.” That was the headline of a campaign that ran on Israel’s Channel 10 News this week, and which featured the station’s Arab affairs correspondent, Zvi Yehezkeli.
The promo spots, like all of the teasers in the broadcast, were frightening, including dramatic background music, photos of ISIL, and sermons about jihad, mujahadin, Al-Aqsa and other words likely to send any Israeli Jew running into the bomb shelter. The campaign gave the impression that ISIL is amassing on our borders and Yehezkeli is the true prophet, here to lay the facts before us.
Following a wave of ISIL terror attacks across the world at the start of Ramadan, Channel 10 News decided to take a look at what’s happening here — just how much of ISIL’s ideology is percolating into the Arab public in Israel and the territories. “We mapped all of the mosques in Israel and listened,” Yehezkeli tells his viewers, two days before the feature was broadcast. One day before the premier, he gave us another sweetener, this time a clip from the show itself, the subtext of which was: everything you think about Islam is right — it’s dark, scary, threatening, hateful and inciting.
And then the piece itself was broadcast. It was no coincidence that they called it a “special project.” Twenty minutes is considered an eternity in television news. For the show, Yehezkeli wore black clothes, a black cap and shot his stand-ups with mosques in the background. I tried to pick out the wheat from the chaff. Here are a few takeaways from all of the facts in the night of sermons, music, threatening shots, Yehezkeli himself’s rather frightening transitions.
The sentence, “we mapped all of the mosques in Israel,” was, how shall we put it, extremely imprecise. Channel 10’s special project looked at 15 out of hundreds of mosques spread across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. That’s pretty far from constituting “all of the mosques.”
The bottom line: most of the sermons were “boring” according to Yehezkeli, dealing mainly with issues of religion and spirituality. “This does not represent all the mosques,” he says at the end of his report. Many of the preachers...Read More