Cnn’s Media Lens Distorts the ‘real’ Israel

by Staff

“A bomb went off on a bus in northern Tel Aviv earlier today.’

Flash: a mutilated bus.

Flash: crying faces and injured children.

Flash: people running around in chaos with looks of terror ontheir faces.

It is well-pieced-together images like these that appear on CNNand in the headlines of the newspapers that give Israel an image ofterror, but my experience there over winter break was something muchdifferent.

While Americans saw the “Israel Crisis” plastered across the news,I was on a bus with 30 new friends seeing the beauty of Tel Aviv. Itwas a cool, clear day. The Mediterranean Sea was deep blue and I satsoaking in my surroundings while eating falafel on a golden brownstone wall. That day, we were in the Old City and port of Jaffalearning about how our Jewish ancestors had arrived there by sea.

To me, Israel is somewhat of a second home, but to many others onthe trip, it was as real as a fairy tale. Coming from America toIsrael was not an easy decision because, like everyone else inAmerica, we were exposed to the coverage of the media that paintsIsrael in a light of madness.

We soon learned that Israel has it’s problems but, like everywhereelse in the world, life goes on.

When driving down the streets of Tel Aviv, we noticed that storeswere open; people were out on the road and going to work. Just as oursociety does not stop for isolated incidents like Columbine, Waco,Texas and Oklahoma City — Israel’s society does not grind to a haltbecause of Arab conflicts.

We were informed after a discussion on the first day that therehad been a bombing in Tel Aviv that afternoon while we were sittingin our quiet spot. We were told to call home so our parents, who hadour itinerary, would not see the news and have media-induced panicattacks.

It was a tragic event, but if I hadn’t been informed by my guideof the bombing, I wouldn’t have known.

Despite the bomb, life continued. I went out that night with thegirls. We were in the heart of the “Israel Crisis” and yet we stilldecided to go out and enjoy the city. We were not going to let CNNruin our experience.

In our eyes we had a better chance of being harmed in downtownL.A. than in Israel. For some reason, we felt safer walking aroundTel Aviv at night then in the Gaslamp district. Maybe it was thewarm, accepting nature of Israelis and their social skill. The peoplethere actually look you in the eye and say hello instead of walkingpast you face down.

The media leaves out the cultural treasures of Israel. Instead ofIsraeli culture, we are shown pictures of the small percentage ofpeople who are living at the center of the violence. We seestereotypes in movies like the nomadic, turban-sporting wanderer,riding on a camel. This is what we are supposed to believe Israel is?

Israel today is a running metropolitan country. The Israeli peopleturned a barren desert into something breathtaking and beautiful.

We were fortunate enough to have a conversation with a woman fromKibbutz Lavi, who came to Israel in 1949 during the time ofsettlement. She told us how the settlers worked the land for years toremove all of the boulders and rocks from the earth to make itworkable. The northern territories of Israel look like a picturesquecountryside; they used to look like a pile of sand dunes.

There are magnificent mountains like Masada with Roman ruinsintact from the time of King Herod. Even more spectacular is theunique phenomenon of the Dead Sea and the amazing feeling of being inJerusalem and hearing the calling of the mosque and the ringing ofchurch bells simultaneously.

The media creates a fa