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Lt.-Col. Indor Against Media-Pandering in the IDF

A second main suspect was arrested in last week's Gaza rock-throwing incident - dubbed a "lynch" by media and politicians. The IDF is "adopting norms of deceptive reporting," accuses one officer.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 7/6/2005, 7:30 PM / Last Update: 7/6/2005, 11:13 AM

The remand of the first suspect in the case, Shimshon Cytryn (see below), was extended today until Sunday, following the rejection of his appeal to the Be'er Sheva District Court. The second suspect, Avinoam Crispin, 19, of Kiryat Arba, was arrested last night. Kiryat Arab residents reported that nine policemen entered a synagogue with their guns drawn to make the arrest. A Be'er Sheva court ruled today that Crispin was present but not involved in the alleged lynch. He was ordered to remain under arrest for five more days.

Parts of the incident were widely filmed, but confusion over what exactly occurred is rampant. It is not clear if an individual Jew started the rock-throwing, or whether a gang of 30 Arabs began attacking a group of singing and dancing Jews. Nor is it clear who wrote the "Muhammed Pig" message on the side of the building that the Jews took over; no soldiers, policemen or Jewish protestors can be found to say he saw it being written. There are also reports that the soldiers did not actively defend the attacked Jews as aggressively as they defended Arabs.

Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indor, head of the Terror Victims Association, told Arutz-7 yesterday that there is a "worrisome phenomenon among senior officers in the army and police department, in which they distort reality and do not tell the truth when they speak to the television cameras. Instead, they often adjust their words to correspond with what the reporters want to hear."

"When top officers adopt norms of lying while giving reports," Indor said, "this will trickle down to the bottom, the lowest soldiers, as well."

Indor said that the latest incidents began when O.C. Southern Command Gen. Dan Harel used the word "lynch" when reporting on the above incident. "'Lynch' is a media concept. There was no lynch. It was a grave incident of throwing rocks, and the fact that the top general would begin using media lingo is very worrisome... What happened there can in no way be compared to what the Arab mob in Ramallah did to those two IDF soldiers a few years ago."

"If I, who once took a medics course, was able to tell from the pictures that the wounded Arab was far from 'mortally wounded,' then how is it possible that Gen. Harel was not able to know? In fact, he did know that he was only lightly hurt, but it was convenient for him to present it differently to the media...

The evacuation of the hotel in Gush Katif last Thursday is another example. Indor says that one senior police commander said afterwards that the 'hilltop youth have been shown to be nothing more than weaklings.' "But there were no hilltop youth there at all," Indor said, "just families and some youths from Gush Katif."

"In addition, Gen. Harel was quoted as saying that 'delinquent youth had taken over the hotel.' But everyone knows, including Gen. Harel, that there was a legal contract drawn up with the hotel owners, such that they are not delinquent youth or lawbreakers. The officers simply want to satisfy the reporters. This is a culture of lying, and we must fight it tooth and nail."

Though widely-disseminated pictures and videos show two Israeli youths throwing rocks from close range at the Arab, most reports do not mention that the Arab had been throwing rocks at Israelis for 15 minutes beforehand. One person there said that the Arab in question, who was claimed to be 'mortally wounded,' had crept up on him from behind and tried to throw a large concrete block on his head.

The 18-year-old Cytryn has still not eaten since his arrest. He demands only special-kosher food, under Badatz supervision, but has not yet received it. His father, Shmuel, said he does not look good. "The public-defender lawyer that I have is not good enough; he barely even mentioned to the judge about the food. It's obvious that we are going to have get a top-grade lawyer for this case."

For further information on the Cytryn case, send email to "amcytryn@netvision.net.il"