“Coteret”: selected articles from the Hebrew media

Posted: November 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: media | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

One of the reasons I write this blog in English is the shortage in first hand information on the Israeli society for those who don’t speak Hebrew. The two main publications in English, Haaretz and Jerusalem Post, represent only a fraction of what’s going on (they have a combined market share of less than 10 percent); Ynet.co.il has a site in English, but most of their articles aren’t posted there.

Now there is an important new addition: “Coteret”, a blog by Didi Remez, who translates selected stories and article from the Hebrew media, and most notably, from the tabloids Yedioth Ahronoth and Maariv. Usually, Didi posts a short introduction on the writer and the context of the story, followed by the full article.

If you want to know better what Israelis are thinking or saying, be sure to add his blog to your bookmarks.


I broke the law today, and got away with it

Posted: April 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: racism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

I have often claimed here that the public atmosphere in Israel is becoming more and more racist towards Arabs. A good example of this can be found in the comments (“talkbacks”) on all major internet sites.

The use of online comments is considerably more widespread in Israel than in most western countries. All the major news sites in Israel allow online comments on the same page with their news articles. The common practice in the US, UK, France, Germany and many other countries is to allow a debate in a separate page, or not to allow comments at all.

There are arguments for and against both policies, and maybe I’ll discuss this issue here sometime. Now I’d like to make a different point. The Israeli law and recent court rulings hold the news sites responsible for the content of the comments. That means that you can sue the site for defamation or slander over the content of the comments as well. That’s why all sites have comments monitors, whose jobs are to prevent illegal or offensive comments from being published. These monitors are not legal experts, but usually low-paid kids, who are instructed not to take chances and delete all problematic material.

At the top of the comment window on the most popular news site in Israel, Ynet.co.il, appears the following warning:

“Comments containing incitement, slander, racist slurs and inappropriate language deemed to violate our Terms of Use won’t be published”

On the Terms of Use page in Ynet there is a long section which refers to “Information Posted by Ynet news Users”. Users, it is stated there, are not allowed to publish links to porn site, sites which breach copyright laws, or any content constituting of defamation, etc.

And this is not allowed as well:

“Any content which exhibits or incites racism or discrimination based on ethnic or national origin, color, culture, religion, sex, occupation, sexual orientation, disease, physical or mental disability, belief, political view or socio-economical class”

This morning I decided to try and break Ynet’s laws. I found this short interview with MK Ahmed Tibi – taken from Yedioth Ahronoth’s magazine for men, “Blazer” – and I sent the following fascist comment (my Italic):

“Ahmed Tibi is a typical Arab. He might talk nicely, but that only makes him more dangerous. If he could, he would exterminate us all. The problem is that for now he can’t, so, with the help of the left, he uses Israeli Democracy to destroy us all. When will we understand that all the Arabs are a threat to the state of Israel and to the life of each and every one of us? This is a Jewish state – that means a state for Jews only. It is time we start to act to defend ourselves”.

Read the rest of this entry »