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Ha'aretz Editor: Tsunami was Bigger News than Itamar Massacre

Ha'aretz publisher Amos Schocken justifies decision not to place murder of Fogels as top headline.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/16/2012, 9:41 AM

Schocken
Schocken
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Ha'aretz publisher Amos Schocken told a hareidi-religious audience Friday that his newspaper was right not to make the massacre of the Fogel family at Itamar its top story on Sunday, March 13, 2011. Instead, Ha'aretz led with the story about the tsunami in Japan, which occurred on the same day as the massacre of the Fogels – Friday, March 11.

"The role of a newspaper as I understand it, and as Ha'aretz has understood throughout the years, even before I became responsible for the paper, even when my father was there… is not to give expression to emotionalism and feelings, but to give readers information about the important things. To set some sort of hierarchy of importance. 

"With all due respect for the family at Itamar, when you compare that event, which was very grave – it was not the first time that Palestinians murdered Jews... It was a shocking case... Among others, there was the case of the father and the son who were killed in a car. These things do occur. And when you compare it in importance to the tsunami in Japan, with all due respect to our identification with the family in Itamar, this is an event that carries much more weight. 

"The role of Ha'aretz is also to provide a perspective of how important things are in the world we live in," he went on. "What is the role of a newspaper, after all? To give the reader some kind of picture of reality that is as faithful to reality as is possible. It is clear that our feelings can be with the victims of the tsunami in Japan and of course can be with the family in Itamar, and of course, it was a shocking murder. 

"If you weigh the two events in terms of their true importance, then with all due respect, there is no comparison. With the tsunami in Japan, not only did more people perish there, but it is an event whose importance goes beyond just how many people it occurred to at that moment."

Ha'aretz is partly owned by German Alfred Neven DuMont and is considered to be the fourth largest daily newspaper in Israel.