Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Dror Yemini
Ben-Gvir at a protest in Sheikh Jarrah

Israeli media must stop covering radicals like Itamar Ben-Gvir

Opinion: Far-right MK attempts to set fire to the Middle East through his extreme demands and incitement, often broadcast live, and media outlets are overdue for self-reflection

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 05.07.22, 19:10
The criticism of the Shin Bet in the wake of the latest terror wave is legitimate. It is fair to doubt the decision-making process of the security body that granted Palestinian Sheikh Raed Salah, who served 17 months in prison over incitement to terror, access to the Temple Mount.
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  • Still so, if we take a minute to look at the bigger picture, we'll easily understand that Shin Bet's recent outburst at MK Itamar Ben-Gvir over his praise of the Jewish radical and mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein, is another thing that feeds the endless cycle of incitement.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    הפגנה בשייח ג'ראח
    הפגנה בשייח ג'ראח
    Ben-Gvir at a protest in Sheikh Jarrah
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Many of us owe our lives to the Shin Bet. Over the years it has remained one of the most efficient security bodies in the modern world.
    So, where does the recent criticism of the Shin Bet come from?
    Israel is a democracy, with checks and balances, and limitations. Countless human rights organizations, domestic and international, scrutinize Shin Bet's every move. Palestinians consider cooperation with the Shin Bet as treason - to be punished by death.
    Regardless of the hardships, the Shin Bet prevails.
    The success rate isn't a hundred percent, and the recent terror attacks are proof of such. Nevertheless, many Arab-Israelis who try to fight crime within their communities, support and appreciate the Shin Bet.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    בן גביר בהר הבית
    בן גביר בהר הבית
    Ben-Gvir at the Temple Mount
    (Photo: Temple Mount management)
    Then, Ben-Gvir enters the scene, angry at the security agency for prohibiting him from paying a visit to the Temple Mount in the midst of escalating security tensions. In response, the Shin Bet did what it rarely feels the need to do - they explained their decision by pointing to the consensus over it, saying the move was backed by intelligence, which pointed to potential harm that could be caused to the state's security
    Shin Bet's view on this topic isn't new. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said of the far-right MK: "He wanted for me to allow Jewish prayers at the Temple Mount. This may sounds like it makes sense, but I know it would set fire to the Middle East. And it would raise fire within a billion Muslims. And I said this is where I draw the line".
    While shortly after Netanyahu himself became an object of justified criticism, he knew back then the harm that would come to the Middle East if Ben-Gvir were to act upon his intentions.
    Hence, the MK's harassment of the Shin Bet is not being done for the sake of security. It's a battle with one purpose: to make him the one who pulls the strings of incitement and ignition. He wants more violence. He wants to set fire to the Middle East. There is enough history that teaches us that these are the circumstances which pave the way for nationalism and racism to take over.
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    איתמר בן גביר  במליאת הכנסת
    איתמר בן גביר  במליאת הכנסת
    Itamar Ben-Gvir
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    So what does the average civilian have to say about the Shin Bet, and their handling of the recent terror wave?
    There have been terror waves throughout the past three decades, and the Shin Bet has proven that it can successfully thwart an overwhelming majority of the planned attacks.
    The success rate of taking down or bringing to trial the terrorists who do manage to carry out attacks stands at close to 100 percent. Still, the inciter and his followers manage to lead the campaign of toxic propaganda against those who devote their lives to protecting us.
    Ben-Gvir's antics, however, have made him a media star. And there will come a day in which the Israeli media will have to reflect on its choices. The sooner it starts the self-reflection process, the better.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    איתמר בן גביר בצעדת הדגלים
    איתמר בן גביר בצעדת הדגלים
    Itamar Ben-Gvir at the Flag March in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Moshe Mizrahi)
    There is no doubt that media outlets are a stage for expressing for an array of opinions. There is no doubt that controversial views must also have a voice on this platform. This is the definition of democracy. For within our society there are many contradicting opinions, on many different fields.
    However, there are a few fields that we must agree are off limits. When an extremist, from the Right or the Left, makes himself a symbol of racism and the media offers him a platform - it can't be called freedom of expression.
    It's distortion, freedom of incitement and manipulation. It's simply the media blindly chasing after ratings, and that's exactly what's happening here.
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