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Yariv Oppenheimer
Yariv Oppenheimer 
 
Rocket hits Nazareth. 'Praying for a miracle' Photo: Yarden Mazor
Rocket hits Nazareth. 'Praying for a miracle' Photo: Yarden Mazor
 
 

No sirens in Arabic

Without bomb shelters, sirens or a sympathetic media, Arab settlements are getting hammered

Yariv Oppenheimer
Published: 07.20.06, 06:23 / Israel Opinion

To do the unthinkable: For the first time since the fighting broke out, Israeli media has sent mobile broadcast units, journalists and photographers to non-Jewish settlements.

 

Since the fighting broke out, the media has demonstrably ignored the bombs and missiles that have landed on Druze and Arab settlements, and the despair of those citizens has not been heard.

 

Barrage on Nazareth
Nazareth: No one told us, the Arabs, to take shelter / Sharon Roffe-Ofir
Residents of predominantly Muslim and Christian town accuse government of failing to sufficiently instruct residents on what to do when rockets hit; ‘If they had instructed us to take cover, as in Jewish towns, death of two children might have been prevented,’ Nazareth man says
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Morning, noon and night, only Jewish voices are heard expressing their fear. Others are forgotten, without a trace, despite the fact that these settlements have absorbed dozens of strikes. There is widespread damage, many injuries and several fatalities.

 

As opposed to the Jewish sector, the Arab and Druze home front can't take refuge in bomb shelter or reinforced room, and they don't have the benefit of warning sirens.

 

The Home Front Command does not publish its announcements in Arabic, and the settlements themselves don’t qualify for government aid for being in the "line of fire."

 

Left only to luck

 

At times of war the state deals only with the Jewish home front. Our Druze and Arab neighbors are left only to luck, and to pray for a miracle.

 

It is terrible to see that racist discrimination is not only the inheritance of Israeli governments from time immemorial, but also of an Israeli media that tries to portray itself as liberal and egalitarian. The media's relationship with them mirrors the entire society: Instead of using crisis moments to unify various sectors within Israeli society and to create bi-lateral solidarity, the media chooses to address Jews only, and to ignore the existence of additional casualties sustained in this war.

 

It is much easier, much more simple to interview mayors, kibbutz secretaries general and security officers over and over – people who speak fluent, unaccented Hebrew - than to interview Mayors of non-Jewish settlements, who could (God forbid) strike a blow to the current wave of patriotism, and to allow the Arab voice to be heard, even for a minute.

 

Yariv Oppenheimer is the secretary general of Peace Now

 

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