Honest Reporting: The 2015 Dishonest Reporting Awards
The year began with Islamic terror in Paris, but was dominated by the Iranian nuclear talks and strained US-Israeli ties. A wave of Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks began with the Jewish new year. As 2015 draws to a close, Islamic terror has struck the West again, with Paris suffering even more bloodshed.NGO Monitor: Deck the Halls with Exploitation: How Anti-Peace NGOs Abuse and Misuse the Message of Christmas
The 2015 Dishonest Reporting Awards
1. Best Reason to Handle Palestinian Sources With Care: The Gaza Flood Libel
2. Most Bigoted Journalist: Kitty Holland
3. Worst Abuse of Anonymous Sources: Haaretz
4. Smear of the Year: Fareed Zakaria
5. Most Unholy Row: New York Times
6. Great Moments in Self-Embellishing: Brian Williams
7. Dumbest Twitter Rant: Jim Clancy
8. Most Maddening Map Misrepresentation: MSNBC
And who is the overall Dishonest Reporter of 2015? We’ll announce that next week, so stay tuned! Without further ado, here are the runner-up winners.
Similar to previous years, many politicized NGOs and well-known charities have been exploiting the 2015 Christmas season with anti-peace campaigns, some of which glorify terrorism.In Christmas message, Abbas calls on world to protect Palestinians from Israel
Groups such as Sabeel (funded by Sweden, via Diakonia, and the Netherlands via ICCO and Kerk in Actie), War on Want (funded by UK, EU, and Ireland), Adalah-NY, Kairos Palestine, and Amos Trust are again using religious and holiday themes to demonize Israel. These organizations utilize inflammatory and offensive rhetoric in their Christmas carols, holiday messages, appeals, and religious imagery.
At the same time, their messages strip the context, omitting references to deadly Palestinian terrorism and other violence against Israelis. They fail to condemn the escalation of attacks against civilians in the last quarter of 2015 – stabbings, car rammings, and drive-by shootings. For example, many of these so-called Christmas messages allege that the security barrier causes harm to Palestinians, while failing to mention its role in protecting civilians against terror attacks.
The abuse of Christmas messages is part of a broad international campaign of political warfare conducted against Israel in some churches. Palestinian Christian NGOs, such as Sabeel and Kairos Palestine, provide the theological and ideological frameworks for these attacks.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday accused Israel of continuing to “consolidate an Apartheid regime by accelerating policies which destroy the two-state solution.”
Abbas’s latest accusation came in a “Christmas Message” in which he repeated other charges against Israel, such as the construction of an “Annexation Wall” and the uprooting of “historic olive trees” near Bethlehem.
“Jesus is a symbol for all Palestinians,” Abbas said. “Palestine and its people take pride in being the birthplace of Christianity and having the oldest Christian community in the world.”
Media Grinches Claim Israel Stole Bethlehem Christmas; Distort Facts, Ignore Muslim Persecution
Christians in Bethlehem also speak of their land being unilaterally confiscated by Muslim gangs.Breaking from the U.S., the U.K. Condemns the Muslim Brotherhood, Calling It a Terrorist Group
“There are many cases in which Christians have their land stolen by the [Muslim] mafia,” said Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station.
“It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, and then they say we have papers proving you’re living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can’t do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away,” Qumsiyeh said.
Last year, a Christian woman from Bethlehem revealed to Fox News that her uncle was murdered because he refused to pay the jizyah, or “protection tax” to Muslims there.
In October, Breitbart News reported on threats to the First Baptist Church of Bethlehem, which has been bombed 14 times.
Apparently, the news media is mysteriously uninterested in highlighting the true plight of Bethlehem’s Christians or the real reasons for this year’s downturn in tourist visits to the city.
Following an intensive 18-month governmental study, the United Kingdom issued a startling indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). It described the organization as fiercely anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government, and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality.Facing death chants and hate crimes, Sweden’s Jews live in a climate of fear
We use the word “startling” not because this is news but because, in such a politically correct world, it took guts for a world leader to acknowledge the obvious about a movement that purports to represent more than a billion people. If anyone at all — in particular our own president, former secretary of state, and high priesthood of political correctness, the New York Times — had simply bothered to read the Brotherhood’s own words, they would have inescapably reached the same conclusion.
The new account, resulting from an exhaustive investigation by respected foreign-policy experts, presents a brutally honest and in-depth examination of the movement. In breaking from the U.S., the U.K. has ironically shifted closer to Egypt, the U.A.E., and Saudi Arabia in identifying the MB as a terrorist group.
On a chilly fall day, passersby on a central street in Sweden’s third largest city, Malmö, were greeted with chants in Arabic urging the killing of Jews.Italy: Police investigate Muslim site's 'Jewish blacklist'
“Death to the Jews,’ and ‘More stabbings,’ the protesters screamed,” recalls Jehoshua Kaufman, head of communications for Malmö’s Jewish community. The protesters at the October pro-Palestinian rally were referring to the near-daily stabbings of Jews by Arab assailants over the past couple of months in Israel.
Swedish politicians, including two parliament members, were present at the protest. However, after Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Isaac Bachman, condemned the event, they distanced themselves, claiming they had not understood the meaning of the Arabic slogans.
Kaufman questions how such an event had been permitted to take place, and why the politicians had not demanded a translation of the chants.
“The politicians could have left and said, ‘We don’t know what you are saying, but we won’t participate unless we know what you are saying,’” he says.
A criminal investigation has been opened into an Italian Musim website which published a blacklist of "influential Jews" in Italy.French Jews to gather on anniversary of Hyper Cacher killings
Included in the list on the Radio Islam site are several prominent journalists, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, actors, rabbis and other high-profile Jewish figures.
Among them is prominent Italian journalist and popular Arutz Sheva columnist Giulio Meotti - who, while outspokenly pro-Israel, is not in fact Jewish. Also included is another regular Arutz Sheva contributor, American-Jewish scholar and acclaimed author Professor Phyllis Chesler.
The Radio Islam site, which is awash with other viciously anti-Semitic content - including posts by known holocaust-deniers - branded them as members of the "Nazi-Jewish Mafia."
CRIF, the umbrella group of France’s Jewish communities, has called on the general public to attend a commemoration on the first anniversary of the slaying of four Jews in a Paris kosher supermarket.French police foil attack on police and army personnel in Orleans
CRIF made the call in a statement published Monday on its website, which said the event planned for January 9 at the Hyper Cacher supermarket on Paris’ eastern outskirts was also meant to commemorate the 13 people who died in terrorist attacks committed by Islamists on January 7 and January 8.
“Let us show up in large numbers to honor the memory of the 17 victims of the January killings,” CRIF wrote.
The Hyper Cacher murders followed the slaying of a police officer the previous day by the same shooter and the killing of 12 the day before that at the office of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine.
Police have prevented two men from carrying out an attack on police and army personnel in the central French city of Orleans, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Tuesday.France arrests woman with fake pregnancy belly, thwarting possible suicide bomber
Two Frenchmen, aged 20 and 24, were being held for questioning, Cazeneuve said. Both were believed to have been in contact with another Frenchman, currently thought to be in Syria, who was suspected of organising the plot.
"The investigation will look into whether he ordered the attacks that one of (the other two) has acknowledged targetted soldiers and police," Cazeneuve said during a visit to the southern city of Toulouse.
In particular, the suspects aimed to attack a military barracks as well as police stations, a police source told Reuters. They sought to seize wepaons and to recruit other attackers, he said
Cazeneuve said 10 attacks had been prevented this year in France, which has been in a state of emergency since Islamist gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris last month.
Authorities in the southern French city of Montpellier this week arrested a young woman in possession of a fake pregnant stomach accessory, in fear that it could be used to conceal explosives in a suicide attack, French media reported Wednesday.Islamist-Linked Frenchman Who Decapitated Boss Kills Himself in Jail
The plastic prosthesis, ordered via the Internet by the suspect, could be attached to the torso to give the illusion of pregnancy.
The accessory was found hollowed out and covered in aluminum foil, and security forces were investigating whether the suspect intended to conceal a bomb under the appendage.
On Monday, anti-terrorism forces arrested the suspect, identified by French media only by first name as Camille, after searches of her home.
According to the reports, the 23-year-old suspect had converted to Islam and became "radicalized."
The suspect reportedly told investigators that the device was intended to be used for shoplifting.
A Frenchman who killed his boss and pinned his severed head to a fence at an industrial gas factory has committed suicide in his jail cell, prison authorities said Wednesday.Former Top US Official: ‘No Surprise Previous Argentine Gov’t Knew and Lied About Iran’s Role in Jewish Center Bombing’
Yassin Salhi, 35, hanged himself from the bars of his cell using his bedsheets on Tuesday night, according to authorities at Fleury-Merogis prison, in the southern suburbs of Paris.
The driver and deliveryman carried out the grisly attack on employer Herve Cornara in Isere, southeastern France in June, displaying his boss’s head outside the plant surrounded by Islamic flags.
He tried to blow up the facility but was arrested and remanded in custody.
Salhi had been placed in solitary confinement but was not considered a suicide risk. He had always disavowed any religious motive for his crime, but prosecutors were pressing charges of Islamic-related terrorism.
“Any sensible person knew Iran was behind the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, and knew that Argentina’s president and foreign minister also knew it, even as they engaged in negotiations with the Islamic Republic to conduct a joint investigation into the attack,” a top adviser to former US President George W. Bush told The Algemeiner on Tuesday.Iranian casualties rise in Syria as Revolutionary Guards ramp up role
Elliott Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Washington, DC-based Council on Foreign Relations — who served as deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor in the “Bush 43” administration — was responding to Monday’s leak of secretly recorded phone conversations in which Argentina’s former foreign minister acknowledged Tehran’s responsibility for the massive 1994 car-bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Society.
The attack, the worst in Argentina’a history, left 85 people dead and hundreds wounded. It is believed to have been carried out by Hezbollah with Iran’s backing and blessing.
The 2012 recordings, released Friday by the Argentinian radio station Mitre, and reported by The Tower on Sunday, are of former FM Hector Timerman trying to reassure concerned Jewish leaders that his and then-President Cristina Kirchner’s negotiations with Iran to jointly investigate the AMIA bombing are the best way to solve the case.
For now, the high number of deaths in a relatively short period does not appear to have reduced the commitment of the Guards to the conflict in Syria.Iranian Naval Chief Decries US Presence in Persian Gulf as ‘Source of Conflict’
“Iran can maintain the current level of its involvement in Syria and even increase it,” said Khashan. “It would be counterproductive to quit at this advanced stage in the conflict.”
Despite the combat deaths in Syria, there has not been a huge public backlash against the war or the Guards among ordinary Iranians. That is largely because many of them have, to some extent, accepted the government message that Islamic State, which has threatened to carry out attacks in Iran, represents an existential threat.
"No one wants to shed Iranian blood to save the throne of Bashar al-Assad but everyone hates Islamic State," said Alfoneh.
"The public is proud of their family members fighting and even losing their lives against an anti-Iranian, anti-Shi'ite force," he said. "They generally believe they're on the right side of history this time."
Iranian brass attacked US presence in the Persian Gulf and called for regional cooperation to counteract it, semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Tuesday.David Singer: The EU racist labelling laws have led to a backlash
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the Revolutionary Guard navy, said, “Figures show that 49 percent targeted ships (580 vessels) were hit during the last 18 months of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) when the Americans were present in the Persian Gulf.” This was his way of illustrating that US presence was a source of conflict, rather than security, as the Americans claim.
But, he said, since Iran and the Gulf States attached great important to security in the Gulf, they must work together in order to ensure it is a process that does not involve outsiders, particularly the US.
That political positioning has seen the EU:Hungary: Labeling of settlement goods is counterproductive
- Claim that settlement by Jews in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem is illegal in international law despite the provisions of article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter specifically authorising and preserving the rights of Jews to live there for the purpose of reconstituting the Jewish National Home.
- Engage in supporting unauthorised, unapproved and surreptitious Arab building projects in Area “C” in Judea and Samaria where administrative and security control is solely vested in Israel under the Oslo Accords.
- Ignore that Jews lived in these self-same designated areas for generations before being driven out and ethnically cleansed by six Arab armies in 1948 - resulting in these areas being illegally annexed and occupied by Jordan between 1948 and 1967.
- To add to the EU’s current woes and expose the hypocrisy of these labelling regulations the EU’s second highest judicial body - the General Court – has determined that the 2012 fishing agreement between the EU and Morocco must be annulled because it also applied to the Western Sahara - disputed territory under Morocco’s control since 1976.
The court cited United Nations resolutions classifying the Western Sahara as occupied - faulting the EU for pursuing its agreement with Morocco without making any distinction concerning products manufactured in the Western Sahara.
Although there are some 200 areas of disputed territory around the world – the EU has seen fit to only require special labelling laws for Jewish goods originating from territories disputed between Jews and Arabs.
Hungary is sticking to its criticism of the European Union’s policy of labeling settlement goods, arguing that it is counterproductive to the body’s bid to become a significant player in the Middle East, and does nothing to advance Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.Dermer sends settlement products as holiday gifts
“Hungary does not consider that the indication of origin of products from Israeli settlements is effective and timely, as it weakens the position of the EU in the Middle East peace process and does not contribute to the practical solution of the conflict,” the Foreign Ministry in Budapest told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.
The statement appears to contradict the stance of the EU foreign policy czar, Federica Mogherini, who last week said that all member states are “united” in support for the measure.
Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer has been sending holiday greeting packages from the embassy that include Israeli products made in the West Bank and Golan Heights.Top intellectuals mobilize against anti-Israel activity on campus
“This holiday season, I decided to send a gift that would also help combat the latest effort by Israel’s enemies to destroy the one and only Jewish state,” Dermer wrote in a letter posted to Twitter, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
“The main forces behind this movement are fanatics who actively seek to eliminate Israel. Unfortunately, they are occasionally joined by fools who naively believe that in promoting BDS, they are advancing peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”
Dermer charged: “The fanatics and the fools are simply promoting a new anti-Semitism. Once Jews were singled out and held to a different standard than other peoples. Today, the Jewish state is singled out and held to a different standard than other countries.”
Alarmed by what they called “Orwellian efforts” to link Israel with a multitude of free-speech issues now roiling American college campuses, a group of influential academics has launched an initiative to combat anti-Semitism and facilitate constructive dialogue about Israel.Assault on Academic Freedom? UCLA Conference Blames Israel
Led by Mark Yudof, president emeritus of the University of California system, and Kenneth Waltzer, former director of Jewish studies at Michigan State University, the Academic Engagement Network has taken it upon itself to combat “Orwellian efforts to link Israel with a multitude of issues, from the shootings in Ferguson to high levels of student tuition.”
“In the face of activities aimed at vilifying Israel, AEN members will facilitate robust and civilized discussions relating to Israel on campuses, promote academic freedom and freedom of expression, stand for human rights for Arabs and Jews, and engage colleagues and students to better understand these complex issues,” Yudof, the network’s chair, said in a statement this month.
Network members will act as resources on their campuses and provide advice to academic colleagues on how to address anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities without trampling on free speech.
During the question and answer session, panelists were queried about whether the deteriorating relationship between Jews and Muslims and the rise in Islamic anti-Semitism could be attributed to the fact that, unlike Christianity, Islam has not undergone a reformation. Lara Deeb of Scripps objected to the premise of the question because it places "a particular a kind of Christian historical perspective on Islam" and involves "viewing Islam through a very, very [Western] centric lens." Asked if she agreed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's call for an Islamic reformation, she stated, "I don't think this idea of saying Islam needs a reformation makes intellectual sense."Iranian-American prof, 100 students wear yellow stars against Islamophobia
Instead, Deeb, displaying exactly the sort of ahistorical projection she had just decried, chalked up the problem to Zionism, claiming that what is, in fact, Islamic supremacism is merely "political divisions related to contemporary history and the history of nation-state building."
UC Santa Cruz anthropology professor Lisa Rofel chimed in: "I also don't think the Christian reformation led to a better relationship between Christians and Jews. So I'm a little confused by that assertion."
The crowd burst out into laughter and started clapping, despite the fact that both professors glossed over the dire need for progress in the Muslim world, regardless of the historical parallels.
Far from demonstrating that there is an "assault on academic freedom," speakers at the UCLA conference proved the opposite. Railing against "suppression" from a podium in a major university doesn't exactly inspire sympathy. Moreover, given the utterly unfounded claim that critics of Zionism are being targeted and muzzled in the lopsided field of MES, the entire premise rests on an inversion of the truth. It's time to break out the world's smallest violin.
A University of San Diego professor and some of her students have taken to wearing yellow star badges, modeled after the ones Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust, to protest Islamophobia.Badge of shame for University of San Diego professor
Bahar Davary, an Iranian-American associate professor of theology and religious studies at the college, and her students began wearing the yellow stars with the word “Muslim” on them around campus last Thursday.
She estimates that over 100 student and faculty members are now wearing the yellow stars on campus.
Davary defended her idea through a university spokesman, telling the Washington Free Beacon that the protest is “not intended to make an analogy between the current situation of Muslims in the US to that of Jews in Germany and wider Europe before the Shoah.”
In light of this recent history and the incredible sensitivity that university administrations and professors generally have when it comes to the appropriation of other cultures’ symbols and histories, one would expect that a university professor in 2015 would never appropriate a symbol associated exclusively with the institutional, state-sanctioned oppression, discrimination and even murder of one group of people in order to try and make a point on behalf of another group. That is certainly what one should reasonably expect. When that historically oppressed group is Jews, who in America in 2015, are somehow not considered by many in academia to be a minority deserving of protection (notwithstanding the fact that 60% of all hate crimes in America based on religious identity over the last 5 years were against Jews), this expectation would not be reasonable; and if you expected a painful symbol of Jewish history not to be appropriated by a university professor, you would be wrong. Very wrong.UN General Assembly adopts Israel's agriculture resolution
According to the Times of San Diego, just last week, a University of San Diego religious studies professor, Bahar Davary, out of concern about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric in the USA decided to have her students and other faculty members wear around the USD campus a yellow Star of David marked with the word “Muslim” as well as a crescent moon symbol associated with Islam in order to “invite a conversation” (as Professor Davary indicated in the Times of San Diego article).
While I am all for “starting conversations” about important subjects, and for combatting racism, bigotry and unlawful discrimination, it is deeply offensive that Professor Davary and some of her colleagues at the University of San Diego elected to engage in such blatant cultural appropriation. As Professor Davary should know (as a professor of theology and religious studies), the yellow badge (or yellow patch), also referred to as the “Jewish badge,” called in German the Judenstern (literally, the “Jews’ star”), was a cloth patch or armband that Jews were ordered to sew on their outer garments to mark them as Jews, and as a “badge of shame” at certain times in different countries since the year 700 A.D.
An Israeli resolution on agricultural technology for sustainable development was adopted on Tuesday by the UN General Assembly with 146 votes in favor and 36 abstentions.SniffPhone gets 2015 Nominet Trust 100 nod
The resolution promotes more accessible agricultural technology in areas stricken by poverty, drought and hunger. It was adopted despite efforts by the Arab bloc to prevent the passage of the resolution simply because it was submitted by Israel.
“The adoption of this resolution marks the international community’s recognition of Israel’s leadership in the field of international development,” said Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. “I thank all the countries that supported this resolution.”
The passing of the resolution marks the second time this month that the UN adopted an Israeli resolution despite objections from Arab countries.
Technion Prof. Hossam Haick and the SniffPhone project – innovative technology for rapid and noninvasive medical diagnostics — have been selected for the Nominet Trust 100 list, which includes the 100 digital developments that had the greatest effect on society in 2015. This list honors individuals and organizations for digital technologies that contribute to society.Israel to have booth at Cannes Film Festival for first time
The SniffPhone system – a smartphone-linked technology aimed at rapid diagnosis of cancer and other diseases based on the subject’s exhaled breath — is currently being developed by a team led by Haick, a faculty member of the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute at the Technion.
Haick says the SniffPhone system will be simple to operate and not prevent the user from functioning normally. The phone will be equipped with minute sensor arrays that will “read” the exhaled breath and send the data by the mobile phone to a data processing system which will interpret and determine whether the subject has the disease. If the answer is positive, it will provide the attending physician with further details using an advanced digital system.
In recent years, the Israeli film industry has become one of its best ambassadors abroad, with local films scooping up prizes and accolades overseas. Now the business is getting a boost thanks to an initiative by Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev that Israel set up its first booth in the international pavilion at the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival this coming May.16th century Talmud fetches over $9 million at auction
Regev met with Cannes Mayor David Lisnard, and the two agreed that Israel would set up a booth to promote its film industry at the upcoming festival, alongside booths from other countries. The Israeli booth will also serve as a platform for future cooperation on new projects, such as co-productions with foreign filmmakers, cooperation between film schools, a meeting place for filmmakers, and a showcase for shooting locations in Israel.
The Israeli booth will also be charged with producing and distributing Israeli films and throughout the festival will host a number of events, including a gala opening that Regev is scheduled to attend along with a delegation of Israeli and French filmmakers.
A 16th-century copy of the Talmud sold at auction Tuesday for $9.3 million in New York, a global record for any piece of Judaica, auctioneers Sothebys announced.US congresswoman: Jerusalem’s archaeological discoveries prove historic Jewish ties
The extremely rare Babylonian Talmud had been expected to fetch between five and seven million dollars.
“The extraordinary volume was purchased by Stephan Loewentheil for the 19th Century Rare Book & Photograph Shop” in New York, the auctioneers said.
The so-called Bomberg Talmud led a sale of items from the Valmadonna Trust, the world’s foremost collection of Hebrew books and manuscripts, which totaled $14.9 million.
The precious volume had been preserved for centuries in the library of Westminster Abbey in London.
Challenges to the inexorable connection of Jews to Jerusalem have been unequivocally disproved by archeological discoveries, the chairwoman of the US’s House Subcommittee on the Middle East & North Africa said on the floor of the US House of Representatives last Friday.Are these Israel's bravest soldiers? Meet the Sunni Muslim Arabs who fight on the front line in an 'unbreakable blood pact'
The comments, made by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), represented a sharp rebuke to increasing international efforts to delegitimize Israel’s connection to Jerusalem despite numerous relics recently unearthed proving an ancient Jewish presence there.
“For quite some time, there has been an effort at the United Nations to delegitimize the Jewish State of Israel, and to try to whitewash the Jewish peoples’ historical and Biblical connection to Israel,” said Ros-Lehtinen.
“Denying the historic connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem is false. Amazing archeological discoveries are frequently made that prove the roots of the Jewish people are in Israel.”
The impetus for her address reportedly stemmed from an announcement earlier this month of the discovery of an unprecedented impression of King Hezekiah’s royal seal from the First Temple period, dating back to 727-698 BCE.
In a small, rural cemetery in northern Israel, 25-year-old Mohammad Ka’abiyah brushes some leaves carefully from a headstone.Christian IDF Soldiers Wish You a Merry Christmas
Like any Israeli graveyard, a number of those buried were killed in action. But here – as the numerous crescents and pieces of Arabic calligraphy indicate – all of the fallen soldiers were Muslim.
‘If you told this story to people from Europe or the United States, or even other Arabs from the Middle East, they wouldn't believe it,’ Ka’abiyah tells MailOnline. ‘But it's really a true situation.’
Ka’abiyah, a Political Sciences student at Haifa university, is one of up to 300,000 Bedouin Arabs living in Israel, all of whom are Sunni Muslims.
Arabs comprise about 20 per cent of Israel's population. They have equal rights in law but are generally exempt from serving in the army.
However, certain tribes are particularly patriotic towards Israel, and choose to join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). About 1,700 Bedouin soldiers are currently enlisted, although there is no obligation on them to do so.
Many Bedouin are recruited as trackers, drawing on their desert heritage to catch terrorists seeking to infiltrate the country along Israel’s borders.
Three Christian IDF soldiers protecting the Israel-Gaza border share their thoughts on celebrating Christmas. They serve in the Bedouin Reconnaissance Battalion, one of our most diverse combat units. Serving alongside Bedouins, Muslims, Jews, and Druze, these soldiers sure know the meaning of “holiday spirit.”
Sgt. Fadi Khurani
“Before going off to celebrate Christmas with my family, I’ll sit here with the guys and tell them all about the holiday. In our battalion, there’s no difference between Bedouins, Christians, Jews, or Muslims. We all eat together, sleep together, and celebrate together.”
Lt. Ruhi Dabas
“Two years ago, I spent Christmas on base during officers course. I put a little plant in my room and decorated it like a Christmas tree. Everyone thought it was great.”
Sgt. 1st Class Fadi Rushrush
“I’m the only Christian in my company, so everyone is very thoughtful. We all teach each other about our different holidays and traditions. We all have a lot more in common than we think we do.”
This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.