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Israeli media coverage: An election with no Arabs?

What does it say about the mainstream media when it took over two months for one of Israel’s most well-read newspapers to include a photo of a non-Jew in its special elections coverage section? 

Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye

On Monday morning, six weeks before the upcoming elections, the Israel Hayom daily finally began publishing the face of Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, at the top of its special section dedicated to election coverage.

Over the past few weeks, since the Knesset was dissolved and the announcement of elections on March 17, the header of Israel’s most-read newspaper was kept ethnically/religiously pure, showing the faces of Jewish candidates alone. On Monday morning, nearly two months later, Israel Hayom published the face of a non-Jewish candidate who leads a major political party for the first time.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, February 2, 2015.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, February 2, 2015.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December18, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December18, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 14, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 14, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 14, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 14, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 5, 2014.

Election candidates according to Israel Hayom, December 5, 2014.

The people at Yedioth Ahronoth, a newspaper that has diligently added MK Ahmed Tibi’s face to the header of its elections section over the past few weeks, have yet to digest the fact that the four Arab parties – Hadash, Ra’am, Ta’al and Balad – have united to form the Joint List.

Tibi still appears in the newspaper as the only non-Jewish candidate, and the only one who does not head a political party. Tzipi Livni, whose face appears in both newspapers, is number two on the Zionist Camp’s list, although she signed a rotation agreement with Isaac Herzog who heads the list. Tibi, on the other hand, is number four in the Joint List.

Election candidates according to Yedioth Ahronoth, February 2, 2014.

Election candidates according to Yedioth Ahronoth, February 2, 2014.

The amount of representation given to the voting public of the Joint List and its candidate in the mainstream press is significant – and not just on a symbolic level.

According to a study conducted last year by Israel’s Government Advertising Agency, Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom are the most-read Hebrew-language newspapers among Arab citizens in Israel. Nearly a third of Arab citizens leaf through these papers on a regular basis. Once every four years (or every two-and-a-half years, depending on when the Knesset is dissolved), Israeli citizens have a chance to directly affect the political future of the state. But when it comes to the visual representations that accompany elections coverage, one paper has decided to simply ignore the leader of a non-Jewish party, while another has insisted on publishing the face of a politician who isn’t even among the top three candidates on his list.

Ignoring Israel’s non-Jewish citizens has become the norm among most Hebrew-speaking media outlets in the country. However, when it comes to headers that sit atop the elections coverage section, it cuts even deeper. It’s not an issue of a journalist reporting or underreporting the goings-on in the Joint List. It’s not about someone writing his or her thoughts about the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the list. It’s not even a case of a newspaper that refrains from reporting on Arab society in Israel.

Until Monday morning, these newspapers sought to decide what a legitimate vote looks like for its readers. They drew a clear line between parties headed by Jews and those headed by non-Jews.

We praise Israel Hayom for (finally) treating all of its readers as equal citizens. We also regret the fact that what may seem obvious in any democratic country is still regarded, in pre-election Israel of 2015, as something worth mentioning.

This article was first published in Hebrew by The 7th Eye media watchdog website. It is reproduced here with permission.

Related:
How the joint Arab slate challenges Israel’s discriminatory politics
The Arab parties united? Great, now it’s time to get to work
+972 poll: Joint Arab list would raise voter participation

Special Coverage: 2015 Elections

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      Comic books and Apartheid: let’s say you want to read something informative about Israel but don’t have the fortitude for Robert Fisk’s “Pity The Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon” – try Guy Delisle’s “Jerusalem:Chronicles From The Holy City”. It’s a 300 page comic book documenting Delisle’s year long stay in Jerusalem as his wife works in a human rights agency. You can finish it in a day and it will help you understand why ‘apartheid’ is an apt description of Israel.

      Then there’s Joe Sacco’s magnificent graphic book “Palestine”.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Lo

      What does it say about Israel Hayom? It says the same thing any idiot with two eyes can see: Israel Hayom is (still) the personal journal of Sheldon Adelson.

      It exists through his largesse and has no other purpose than to disseminate his views into Israel’s body politic. It is a vehicle to legitimize the paranoid reactionaries in the Israeli right-wing and one of the organs of Jewish supremacy within the state of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        What an hysterical and idiotic comment from you, Lo! Israel Hayom does what, for example, Haaretz and New York Times are doing and have been doing for decades. It seems you are one of those paranoid reactionaries from the extreme left within foreign countries, who consistently degenerate Jews and demonize the Jewish State and seek her demise. The fact is that you have failed, Lo, and you will continue to fail miserably. But hey, continue stewing in your own juice; it is a movie I like to watch, imbecile.

        Reply to Comment
        • Lo

          Israel Hayom is nothing like either Ha’aretz or the NYT. For one, neither of the latter are free dailies like the former.

          You completely ignored the fact that Israel Hayom can only exist due to the largesse of Sheldon Adelson (a man who loves Israel so much he makes his money on casinos in Macau and lives in the U.S.). Moreover, you then descended into attacking my motives and character because I pointed out that Israel Hayom is the personal journal of Sheldon Adelson, and that Sheldon Adelson is a reactionary oligarch.

          Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “Israel Hayom is nothing like either Ha’aretz or the NYT. For one, neither of the latter are free dailies like the former.”

            No, Lo, all three are ideological. That’s what they have in common. The only difference is the content of their ideologies: left-wing/“right-wing”. Beyond that, their modus operandi is the same in achieving their resp. goals.

            “You completely ignored the fact that Israel Hayom can only exist due to the largesse of Sheldon Adelson (a man who loves Israel so much he makes his money on casinos in Macau and lives in the U.S.).”

            Irrelevant. Btw. Haarezt can only exist due to the largeness of its supporters. Besides, you degenerate Sheldon Adelson for no good reason whatsoever, except for the fact that he is rich by his own sweat and he loves Israel. That’s childish and hateful. What exactly is wrong with making your money in casinos in Mecau and living in the United States?

            “Moreover, you then descended into attacking my motives and character because I pointed out that Israel Hayom is the personal journal of Sheldon Adelson, and that Sheldon Adelson is a reactionary oligarch.”

            You lie. You said this: “It is a vehicle to legitimize the paranoid reactionaries in the Israeli right-wing and one of the organs of Jewish supremacy within the state of Israel”. So, Lo, who exactly are those “paranoid reactionaries in the Israeli right-wing”? Why are they “paranoid”, what are they “paranoid” of and what is the basis for your claim? Which “organs” exactly are “the organs of Jewish supremacy within the state of Israel”? What in the world do you mean by “Jewish supremacy”, how are those “organs” “the organs of Jewish supremacy in the State of Israel” and what is the basis for your claim? You comment is disturbing and reads, to my big surprise, like something coming from the ‘Stormfront’, Mikesailor, Brian, etc. and you need to explain it. “Jewish supremacy”? “Organs of Jewish Supremacy”?! Wow. Just Wow!

            Reply to Comment
    3. Pedro X

      What this article fails to mention is that until late January the head of the Arab Majority Party did not exist. The Times of Israel, among others, carried the creation of the party and the naming of Ayman Odeh to lead the new party.

      To suggest that Israel Hayom committed some wrong in failing to show the leader of the Majority Arab Party prior to his election as leader is simply bizarre. But then most criticism in 972mag is equally bizarre.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Brian

      Two for the price of one, from Richard Silverstein. Check ’em out.

      Read about the Brown Shirt cop who immediately broke a woman’s hand and put a pistol to her head for not being appropriately obsequious:

      http://www.richardsilverstein.com/

      IDF Chief Warns of International Intervention if Israel Doesn’t Solve Palestine Conflict

      Israel and the Jewish Brown Shirts

      Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        Wow, of “cut, copy and paste job” from an unemployed foreign anti-Israel propagandist with irrational fixation on- and compulsive obsession with Jews and Israel. Shouldn’t you be spending time on the affairs of your own country, Brian, and worrying about the very serious social quagmire that threatens the very existence of your own country and how to make your own country better? What exactly got you so hooked on Jews and Israel, Brian, that you even neglect yourself and won’t go find a job to support yourself, but instead depend on food-stamps provided by the United States government with my tax dollars to survive, while obsessing with- and “doing research” on Jews and Israel 24/7 and coming back here to paste the result of your “research” and ranting endlessly? You have a psychiatric problem, Brian. Time to see a psych.

        Reply to Comment
        • ICat

          “Wow, another series of “cut, copy and paste job” from an unemployed foreign anti-Israel propagandist …”

          (that’s a correction of the first sentence)

          Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        Brian, in case you have forgotten, I remind you that you have used “Brown shirts” and “Nazis” to describe Jews and Israelis posting on this site such as Pedro, The Trespasser, Tomer, Ginger, etc. Your other anti-Semitic rants are also on record on this site. I am not sure you want us to go there, do you?

        Reply to Comment
    5. Karl

      what does it say about the Israeli Hebrew press? It says that the Israeli Hebrew press is in the business of selling advertisements by attaching them to news dispatches that Hebrew speakers care about. Therefore, the Israeli Hebrew press does not print much news about politics in Alaska, nor about Norsk oppression of the Saami people, nor about the Arabic-colonialist-philic (yes, Arabic is ==not== an indigenous language in Israel) community. Brian is ==more than welcome== to put his money where his mouth is, by opening a Hebrew newspaper which discusses at length, social/political/artistic news dispatches about the Arabic -colonialist-descendents living in the Land of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Michael's Mind

      The fact is, if the corrupt racist Lieberman had had his way there would be no Arab candidates at the top of any paper in Israel because there would be no Arab candidates. Lieberman and his kind’s attempts, with the electoral threshold raising and then the calls to ban any Arab parties at all simply backfired on them. The man and his party is a sinking ship.

      Reply to Comment