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Media Man: I 'Smiled' at Sight of Beaten Settlers

The editor of a prominent news interview show explains why the near-lynch at Kusra caused him mirth.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/15/2014, 8:37 AM

Victim of attempted lynch at Kusra tended to by IDF soldier
Victim of attempted lynch at Kusra tended to by IDF soldier
Reuters

The degree to which Israel's mainstream media openly identifies with leftist politics was displayed Wednesday morning in an opinion piece by Dror Zaresky, the editor of Channel 10 television's "London and Kirshenbaum", a daily news interview show.

The article in Maariv-NRG, where Zaresky is a frequent contributor, is devoted to Zaresky's confession that he was happy to see young Jews badly beaten by Arab villagers at Kusra, in Samaria, last week.

"The reports in the media and around some of the water coolers,” he wrote, “ran the gamut from just-the-facts to awarding a prize for courage to the Palestinian residents of the village near Shechem who settled a long debt with the youths of the right wing specifically, and with Israel the occupier in general.”

"I will admit the truth: I, too, had to fight the smile that spread on my face when I heard the reports from the village,” Zaresky added. “When I first heard about the 'price tag' action gone bad in the wadis of Samaria, I could not hide my smile. Unlike many of my friends in the media, I do not see these actions as disastrous for the country; proportionality was abandoned long ago, in the way we report these incidents of graffiti and flat tires. And yet, there is no doubt in my mind that the right wing criminals are trying to disrupt the lives of many Palestinians – and on the way, they may just succeed in setting fire to our calm neighborhood in the Middle East.”

Zaresky went on to compare the event to a group of thugs from an organized crime gang who come to collect protection money from shop owners, somewhere in the desert – and instead are ambushed by their victims, who beat them up. “I imagine that you get my point. The schadenfreude toward those who came to hurt is natural and understandable and has nothing to do with political views of one kind or another,” he opined, adding that he “understands” people who say it is wrong to take the law into one's own hands, but wishes to “confer a blessing” on those who “teach criminals a lesson” regardless.

Media reflects Arab version 

Zaresky's version of what transpired in Kusra is in line with media reports that relied on Arab sources, and said the Jews had entered Kusra to carry out "price tag" vandalism. However, according to a spokesman for the community of Esh Kodesh, the Jews were in fact touring the hills far from the Arab village when they were attacked by Arabs who surrounded them on trucks, and tried to kill them.

The version of events confirms the testimony of Pinhasi Brown, one of the men who was attacked, who said "we left at midday from Esh Kodesh to the direction of the Hayovel neighborhood in Eli, and on the way we stopped in the ancient khirbeh [ruin]." Due to the media spin of the event, the attacked Jews have been villified as "price tag" vandals, as extreme left group Peace Now called for the demolition of Esh Kodesh following the attack. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir previously slammed the media "slander" of the Jews.

Rabbi Chaim Richman explained in an Arutz Sheva article that the hike was peaceful: "The entire group was completely unarmed. The purpose of the walk was to declare: We live here. We will not be afraid. The participants in this hike had no intention whatsoever to commit any 'price tag' act of revenge or intimidation against the local Palestinians. They did not walk to the village of Kusra and had no intention whatsoever of entering the village."

Channel 10 is privately owned but is one of only two commercial channels licensed to broadcast nationwide. It has a long history of financial failure and has repeatedly been saved by the government, when it defaulted on debts.