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November 29, 2012 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



0 M

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en ary

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ci

- War In
Real Time

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C-0

Social media's role
in the war in Israel.

■A M

W

atching this war unfold in
Israel and Gaza over the last
few months has been extreme-
ly difficult. With a sister and countless
other relatives and friends living in Israel,
I pray for the people living there every
time I hear that another rocket has been
directed at yet another civilian target from
Gaza.
Unlike the previous wars
and Intifadas where informa-
tion came in the form of news
reports, letters or emails, today
we live in the age of social
media. Like many people, I
follow both the Israel Defense
Forces (IDF) Twitter feed and
their Facebook page. Over the
past few years I have seen beau-
tiful pictures of chayalim (Israeli
soldiers) graduating boot camp,
using new interesting equipment
and technology, hiking and
wishing me a Shabbat Shalom.
It may sound silly, but seeing these
images regularly makes me feel more con-
nected to the State of Israel and the sol-
diers who protect it. It's one of the major
reasons IDF uses social media; it helps
connect people all over the world to its
cause. They, along with other pro-Israel
accounts, post photos and text that are
easily shareable online.
During the summer Olympics, the IDF
posted a photo, shared almost 50,000
times, that stated, "While you watched
the Olympics this weekend, seven rockets
hit Israel." They recently shared a photo
that shows the distance the rockets from
Gaza can reach, and what that distance
is relative to their being launched from
Manhattan. The simplicity makes things
very real.
In general, the mainstream media
doesn't cover what is going on in Israel in a
fair and balanced manner. Israelis are con-
sistently under attack without a word said.
However, when Israelis eventually retaliate,
they are condemned for "their aggression"
Social media has changed the playing
field. IDF and other organizations now
have the ability to share content in real
time. It's amazing how many people share

18

November 29 • 2012

and vocalize their opinions about what's
going on in Israel using Facebook and
Twitter channels. I must admit, most of
my friends are pro-Israel and I see a very
biased view on the situation; I am sure if I
were a Muslim-Arab, my newsfeeds would
look very different.
This brings me to some guidelines of
using social media in this war:
• Just as the IDF can pro-
duce images and posts, terrorist
organizations do the same —
but their numbers of support-
ers are far greater than ours.
They brag about bombs and
missiles, and lie to make their
point. For example, Al Qassam
Brigade's Twitter account post-
ed a heart-wrenching photo of
a man holding an injured child,
a photo that actually came
from Syria a little over a month
ago — not from Gaza.
• People are asked to refrain
from posting on social media the locations
that rockets hit. Remember that this is a
war, and terrorists have the same monitor-
ing software available to them as we do. By
posting "OMG rockets just missed X" you
are putting Israel at risk; as the terrorists
can instantly adjust their targets in real
time. In the first few days of Operation
Pillar of Defense, posts stating that this
request came from the IDF were all over
the place, and then came the "are these
real?" posts. I did some digging; the post is
real, but came from the office called Pikod
Haoref (the IDF Home Front Command).
It's actually requesting that soldiers not
post information, but it's not a bad idea
to withhold specific details on the land-
ing sites of rockets that reach the ground.
Check out www.facebook.com/
pikudhaoref for more information.
• While terrorists are our enemies, we,
as Jews, do not celebrate in their deaths.
On Nov. 14, when Ahmed Jabari was killed
by the IDF, a video of the assassination by
surgical car bomb was circulated by the
IDF. Shortly thereafter, a second video was
circulated by a Palestinian on the ground.
It was extremely graphic and showed
images of the torched car and dead body

SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED
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This area is being attacked
by rockets from Gaza

This is the same size area
around New York

SHARE if you understand that Israel has the right to defend itself

in the street. However, it was the crass and
hateful comments posted by fellow Jews
that I found most upsetting. It may sound
hypocritical as we want to support our
country, but we must keep in mind that
just like we are the children of God, so are
those evil and misguided souls of terror-
ists. Their lives are just as precious and
important to God as ours. This is why the
IDF is so careful not to kill civilians when
it's avoidable. Remember, every Passover
we pour out some wine during the Seder
to show God we are not a people that cel-
ebrate the death of our enemies.
Another way to think about it; when we
refer to Israel and the nation of Israel as
Kadosh, normally translated as Holy, this
is a mistranslation. It means "different"
We are not better than non-Jews; we are
not better than our enemies. We are differ-
ent. The difference isn't in our blood; it's in
our actions. We don't celebrate bloodshed;
we celebrate in victory/safety. Terrorists
dance and brag at our deaths, even using
their own civilians as human shields! We
protect civilians, and we mourn the death
of every man.
Please remember as you are check-
ing in on friends and family in Israel, as

WHILE YOU WERE WATCHING
THE OLYMPICS THIS WEEKEND,

7 ROCKETS FIRRI FROM nva
HIT ISRAFI SHARE THIS IF YOU

DIDN'T HEAR ABOUT IT ON THE
NEWS.

FACEBOOK.COMMFONLINE

well as commenting, posting or tweeting,
that celebrating our victories, defending
ourselves and winning this war is a must.
But talking about the enemy as if they are
less than human takes away from our own
spiritual fitness.
We have some dark days coming ahead.
I fear there will be many lives lost. I hope
and pray that lives that can be saved are;
and that those living in Israel suffer as
little as possible, and that God watches
over the chayalim he trusted to protect
Israel.



Benji Rosenzweig writes at Benji Unspun,
http://allmyprojects.wordpress.com .

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