God, Jews and the Media: Reli­gion and Israel’s Media

Yoel Cohen
  • Review
By – May 24, 2013
Under­stand­ing the Israeli media, and com­pre­hend­ing the world bias against Israel, are two daunt­ing tasks. But both can be made eas­i­er by read­ing these two new, fas­ci­nat­ing books. 

Press­ing Israel is a hand­book. The authors pro­ceed alpha­bet­i­cal­ly, list­ing the media bias­es on sub­ject after sub­ject; then they refute the media’s errors. They offer good respons­es to the usu­al­ly nefar­i­ous and repug­nant asser­tions that all too oft en go unchal­lenged in the main­stream media in the Unit­ed States. 

They bring forth doc­u­ments and offer back­ground and in-depth, his­tor­i­cal expla­na­tions for their responses. 

God, Jews and the Media attacks the prob­lem from a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. This book was pub­lished as part of a Jew­ish Stud­ies series. Cohen research­es and explains the role of the sec­u­lar press and the Jew­ish press. He traces the rise of both the mod­ern Zion­ist press and the ultra-Ortho­dox press and shows the ten­sions that emerge when reli­gious Jews actu­al­ly play a role in the sec­u­lar press. 

This is no easy top­ic. There is tremen­dous ten­sion in Israel between reli­gious and sec­u­lar com­mu­ni­ties and between Zion­ist and non-Zion­ist and anti ‑Zion­ist com­mu­ni­ties. Under­stand­ing how each com­mu­ni­ty sees the oth­er is an impor­tant tool in fur­ther­ing bet­ter under­stand­ing among the communities. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the book proves a sor­ry tru­ism: Jews are their own worst ene­mies. And in Israel, the media is oft en respon­si­ble for spread­ing the ugli­est invec­tive. The var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven media, whether it be print, radio, or tele­vi­sion, all pro­mul­gate and per­pet­u­ate ter­ri­ble stereo­types of the others. 

Cohen’s ground­break­ing book brings this under­stand­ing and insight to the open forum for dia­logue. And Cohen, him­self, is an equal oppor­tu­ni­ty critic. 

Addi­tion­al Title Fea­tured in Review

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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