by Noga Gur-Arieh

Part I: Sick of the Injustice

After seeing what's it really like out there, IDF soldier Yoav is sick and tired of the misleading coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Photo courtesy of Yoav)

Yoav, a reservist IDF soldier, spent a month in the West Bank. When he returned, he sat down to write this letter and asked me to share it with you. His one request is for you to help spread the truth. Read Yoav's second open letter below or at the Jewish Journal.[1]

yoam.onhill rocks

Sitting in a War Room day after day can give you some perspective on the conflict in the West Bank.

It's a perspective that you can't get from watching the media, nor from the Israeli or Palestinian politicians. Soldiers, the people "on the ground," who face difficult situations day after day, put their lives on the line for the sole purpose of maintaining peace on both sides. Yes, both sides.

I know this because I recently returned from a month as a reservist soldier (Miluim) in the West Bank, where I functioned as a telecommunications officer (ICT).

In between dealing with gear issues in our sector, I 'rested' in the brigade's War Room so I could keep track of and take care of issues concerning communications.

Well, one thing I can tell you for sure - the action in this room never ended. There were violent incidents happening every hour.

I'd like to pose the following questions to you: How many of these hourly events have you heard about? How many made it to the news?

Maybe one or two? Ninety percent of what happened this past month never got to the media because the journalists pay so much attention to the Palestinian human rights issue (which is important, no doubt, but only a small part of the big picture.) The media - and subsequently, you- forget that the Palestinians have been living alongside Jews for a long time, and in most cases, coexistence in its most beautiful form thrives there.

As my month out there progressed, I realized that the problem wasn't really Palestinians or Israel, but foreign journalists and "human rights activists" who think they know what's going on here based on bits and pieces of information.

In the War Room, there was a big whiteboard that reported every time "human rights activists" and foreign press came to see the "show." Yes, the "show." The activists choose their location and timing wisely, as Palestinians get settled in places they know are close to where the "activists" would be--places close enough to the Palestinian side of the border, but not actually inside the villages, where terror organizations like Hamas have power and control.

I don't blame them. I, myself, don't want anyone to get thrown into a situation where a Molotov cocktail is being thrown at them (or rocks, or burning tires.) I can tell you first hand that a rock doesn't distinguish a soldier from a journalist from an activist from an innocent Palestinian.

However, the problems are (1) the journalists and activists are being misled when they only visit certain areas, and (2) they mislead the public. They settle in, place their equipment, watch as Palestinians aggravate and interrupt the soldiers[2] there, and when the soldiers finally respond, they turn their cameras on, making it seem as if the Israeli Defense Forces is all about war and conquest, and the Palestinians are weak and helpless.

I admit it was unpleasant, and even hard, to see and hear people from abroad talking about Israel, thinking they know what's going on here based solely on what they have seen and read in the international media (which chooses locations and angles that shape a David-Goliath narrative,) or heard from the Palestinian propaganda (which often presents edited videos.)

Every combat unit in the IDF has its own combat photographer, geared with an action-camera to record both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides, first-person view, to ensure no human right is run-over, but also to show Palestinians, and the world, that Israel is now recording its actions more than ever, uncut. What a shame the international media chooses to ignore those videos...



Part II: Don't be Fooled, Open Your Eyes

yoav with gun
Yoav, a reservist IDF soldier, serves in the West Bank. After seeing sights you don't read about in the news, he sat down to write this for you. His one request is for you to help spread the truth.

Back in April, I shared with you my thoughts in regards of the international media cover of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,[3] from my point of view as an IDF reserve soldier.

I can honestly say that since then, nothing has really changed. With that being said, there is something interesting that's going on within the borders of Israel.

In the past couple of months we've witnessed a disturbing uprising in Palestinian terrorism within the borders of Israel. Almost every day, still, you hear on the news about yet another brutal attack, usually committed by a young Palestinian with a sharp object, stabbing Israeli civilians. In almost every attack, though, you hear about an Israeli "mob" that was nearby, saved the victim's life, and either wounded or killed the terrorist.

The new generation of Palestinian terrorists are, as I pointed out before, young, and lack experience. But somehow they are the biggest threat to Israel's security, as they either work here, or live here (some of the terrorists were Israeli-Arabs). These young men and women, operating the way they do, are the biggest challenge the Israeli Defense Forces now face.

In my last article, I wrote about how the IDF is equipping its units with cameras, so that they can show the real footage (not the one produced and carefully edited by Pallywood) from the field, and to learn from and handle any wrongdoing by our forces.

Now, the foreign press has a problem with such footage, as it's not coming from Pallywood, or from leftist Israeli organizations like "B'Tselem," who equip Palestinians with cameras, asking them to take footage of the IDF in the territories, and usually frame it in whichever way suits them.

So they make stuff of their own...

Almost every Friday, we witness demonstrations by Palestinians and their supporters, along the Separation Fence and near the Palestinian villages. In many cases, after some Pallywood messengers taunt us soldiers in "demonstrations" things get out of hand, which means stones and Molotov Cocktails are being thrown. At this point, the entire area becomes a closed military zone. Then, we are forced to get things under control, which means using non-lethal riot control tools (tear gas and rubber bullets,) and the mob of "human rights activists" and journalists are required to clear the area. Sadly, in many cases they refuse to evacuate.

This, right there, is the "money-time," with all cameras pointing at us, the soldiers, eager to track our every move, and catch us slipping up.

Now imaging something like that happening to your soldiers, your brothers and sisters, your children, your parents. What country in its right mind would not see this situation as intolerable and not do everything possible to eliminate the threat?! This is where the "when Israel does it - it's wrong" double standards kick in, and this is the moment the cameras just love to catch.

Now stop reading for a second, and let it sink in — the cameras there are not meant to capture a reality, but to make a certain reality happen, at all cost.

As terror continues to strike Israel, you hear and read almost daily on the news about a "young Palestinian boy who was beaten or shot by an Israeli mob. You see images of a young man, holding merely a screwdriver or a knife, lying on the ground, bleeding. That's before he is taken away to get treatment at an Israeli hospital, after committing a terror attack. And the "mob" are Israelis who saw a fellow Israeli being attacked, and decided to take a risk and help out. This, by no means, make a terrorist the victim. And no, this can't be called "self-defense" in some cases and "Israel is a terrorist country" in others.

Thanks to the age of "CCTV On Every Smartphone," we can see in the current terror wave, almost instantly, videos of the terrorists during the attack, followed by the response of the public, or the armed forces. The truth is out there, but this doesn't stop the international media from altering it.

Honestly, it hurts me to see it, those big headlines depicting only parts of the truth. I find this very disturbing, knowing that people who read such headlines, and, like many of us, believe in the integrity of the media, form an opinion about Israel and the IDF accordingly. This happens to us, soldiers, in the Palestinian Territories almost every day, and now it is happening to Israeli civilians as well — we are being framed as the terrorists, instead of the fighters against terror. What's even more disturbing is that when it comes to any other country — the framing all of a sudden changes. This breaks my heart, as I am fighting, day and night, for my country's safety.

I hope you keep this in mind the next time you open a newspaper...

Yours, Yoav.





Noga Gur-Arieh is an Israeli woman who lives in Tel-Aviv and is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University. She writes about life in Israel for her blog Israelife. Part 1 appeared April 7, 2015 in Jewish Journal and is archived at Part II appeared December 15, 2015 in Jewish Journal and is archived at

Thanks are due Yoram Fisher for sending it to Think-Israel.

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