Sunday, July 19, 2009

That Doctored or Miss-identified Picture of Ofra in The Jerusalem Post

The settlement of Ofra with...

The settlement of Ofra with the outskirts of Ramallah in the background.
Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski


I've written about this picture before.  My daughter lives in Ofra, and we pass Ofra when traveling to Jerusalem.  I can't see how this is an accurate picture.


The Jerusalem Post has used it to illustrate many articles, including one on the site right now.  First of all, Ofra is not next to Ramalla, not even close.


There are two other yishuvim much closer to Ramalla.  One is Beit El, north of Ramalla, which I know well.  It can't be Beit El.  Psagot is next to Ramalla, just east of it.  I'm not familiar enough with Psagot to identify it.


Whatever, that archives picture the Jerusalem Post keeps using is false, and I've blogged about it before and sent it around, and I can't understand why they haven't been sued.


YMedad said...

The only way Rammalah can be seen level with a Yishuv is from the west, with some houses of Givat Ze'ev is my guess. Psagot overlooks Ramallah from on high as does Kochav Yaakov.

Esser Agaroth said...

The only thing I can make out of it, is that this POV is from the south {Givat Tzvi} looking northeast {Arab Silwad}, and that there's a piece in between the Jewish and Arab pieces.

The main synagogue would have to be off to the left on the highest point in the town.

There may be a piece cut out from between the two pieces I mention. It could be all valley between the two. Houses, the pool, and Bnei Aqiva are in this lower portion.

It could just be the camera angle that makes it look weird.

Do you recognize buildings from Ramallah here? I'm pretty sure it's just Silwad. Going up farther east from the village you would arrive at the communications base.

Batya said...

Wink, Givat Zeev? But the JPost said Ofra, and they've used this picture many, many times.

BY, simple question:
Could this be Ofra and Ramalla?

Esser Agaroth said...


Esser Agaroth said...

...unless they're trying to say that Silwad is a suburb of Ramallah. But that's pushing it.

Anonymous said...

It's not pushing it at all. I think it is Ofra, and the 'outskirts' of Ramallah are the villages/towns in the area of Ofra. They're just a few kilometers away from Ramallah, after all.

This is not worse than Israeli news constantly referring to Shiloh as a 'yishuv in the area of Ramallah'.

Esser Agaroth said...

Anonymous, you obviously have no clue about geography.

That's either Silwad in the background, or a cut and paste of Ramallah, miles away.

Yabrud, Bitin, and Al Birah are between Ofra and Ramallah. And these villages are not even connected in between,...lots of empty space.

Anonymous said...

Ben-Yehudah, you don't need to be condescending. I live in Shiloh and I know the area.

What I'm saying is that if Shiloh is considered 'a suburb of Ramallah' according to Israeli news reports (and it is), then saying that any of the villages near Offra is the 'outskirts' of Ramallah is not that much of a stretch, and given that it IS not far from Ramallah it's also somewhat factual. They should probably have called it the outer suburbs of Ramallah, but why get picky?

Esser Agaroth said...

Well, anonymous, better start packing your bags. If you're going to make such excuses for the Israeli media so easily, it won't be too difficult to kick you out of your house.

Batya said...

By the standards of our area, geographically and historically, Shiloh is neither near Ramalla, nor Shechem. That's why we have so much available land. A hundred years ago, as proof that there was no local "nationalism," the Arabs considered themselves as locals of their towns and villages, "city-states" like there once were in Europe.

Shiloh is between Ramalla and Shechem and never was lived in as a "hometown," until seven families and some yeshiva students arrived in Shvat, early 1978.

We're just as close, if not closer on the new road, to Ariel as we are to either Ramalla or Shechem.

Ofra is quite a distance from Ramalla. I don't think there's a camera which could take a picture showing homes in both places of such similar size. Actually it's totally impossible, making the picture a fake or mislabeled.

Anonymous said...

I'm not making excuses, I'm stating facts.

The question was: is this Offra?

The reason why yes: Jpost says so.

The reason why not: Jpost says it's next to Ramallah.

For some reason, everybody assumes that just because Jpost says this is Ramallah, it must be.

The sad fact is that most times Offra is mentioned in the news, it's described as being "next to Ramallah". Most times Shiloh is mentioned in the news, it's described as being "next to Ramallah".

Bottom line: there is a very good chance this is Offra. There is a very good chance that is not what we would call Ramallah.

Trying to place this picture next to Ramallah just because Jpost says it's next to Ramallah ignores the fact that Jpost would call anything between Jerusalem and Tapuach "Ramallah".

That was my point.

Anonymous said...

Ben-Yehudah, the distance between Offra and Ramallah is 5km (as the crow flies). If you take into account the expanding suburbs of the city, it's probably closer.

Batya said...

a, the towns and villages between Ramalla and Ofra were not developed and established as part of Ramalla. Just because the newspaper lumps them all as "Ramalla" doesn't make it so. Just like all the writers, newspaper people and even bloggers who refer to crocheted kippot (srugot) as "knitted" doesn't mean that "knitting" is the craft used. They are crocheted!

Anonymous said...

I have no idea where the pic was taken or if it's photoshopped.

I just wanted to say that using a strong zoom lense, you can create some unusual optical illusions where depth is misperceived.

I'm not claiming this is the case here, just pointing it out. Classic examples.

Batya said...

You'd need x-ray vision to connect Ofra to Ramalla. There's a mountain in the way.

Anonymous said...

Just totally guessing: any chance this could be in the Efrat or Hevron area?

This makes for a great treasure hunt game. Send this kids out. They won't come back for 2 weeks. :)

Esser Agaroth said...


Silwad is NOT Ramallah.

Shy Guy, it's the south end of Ofra.

Here's an old classic photoshopping for your entertainment by Sultan Knish.

I have to prove to the world that the photo HAD to have been doctored.

Batya said...

Shy, a good game would be to match the parts with reality.

ybh, I'm glad you agree with me. This has been obsessing for me.
There's an additional issue here. By making the cities large areas including villages miles away, you/they're giving the Arabs credit for nationalism. Their tradition is totally local, clan, village, city-state, not national. Only in recent years with motorized vehicles have the Arabs spread out. When we first moved here in 1981, the areas around the roads were barren. The farming is all very recent.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying Silwad is Ramallah. I'm saying it's:
1. a suburb of Ramallah.
2. it's more likely that the Jpost put a picture of Offra and mislabeled Ramallah than vice versa. Why? Because the media do it all the time!

Besides. you guys might want to go up to Amona sometimes. It gives you a perspective on how close everything really is.

Why get upset about Silwad (as we said 5 km from Ramallah). It drives me nuts when the media refers to Luban as being 'next to Ramallah'. And everything north of that as being 'next to Shechem'.

Hillel Levin said...

Lets keep in mind that Jerusalem is also a Suburb of Ramallah. Therefore Ofra is a subburb of Jerusalem.

Hillel from Shiloh

Esser Agaroth said...

As a former resident of Ofra, I've been to Amona several times.

Batya said...

I highly doubt that the "founding fathers," the clan that settled Silwad thought of itself as a "suburb of Ramalla." The early Arabs in the area had no regional aspirations. Politically, it's very important to remember that.

In terms of Hasbara, our Information Campaign, all linguistic nuances are important.

Esser Agaroth said...

Now for some interesting news to change the subject slightly.

There are apparently more than a few U. S. citizens in Silwad.

One Ofra resident was visiting his grandmother after finishing IDF service in the U. S., and bumped into an Arab who said he was from Israel [or "Palestine," I don't remember.]. They asked each other where, and thought it was funny that the Arab was from Silwad and this kid was from Ofra. They joked about being "neighbors," which they essentially are.

One of the houses across from the entrance to Ofra is inhabited by U. S. citizens. How do I know?

Well, after a sniper fired over 30 bullets from the roof of this house, across the street into the concrete blocks where people wait for northbound tremps, the gov't went to go demolish this house, as punishment for collaboration.

I'm not sure if the U. S. government intervened or not, but the reason the house was not demolished was due to the U. S. citizenship of the owners. The Israeli gov't didn't want any hassle.

One girl was nicked by one bullet during that shooting attack.

Batya said...

Great comment. What a story.
Another example of how Arabs receive more civil rights than Jews.

Michael said...

An violent Naalin rioter is detained but still resisting with force. A soldier fires rubber bullets a few meters to the right of him. One of them is claimed to have nicked one of his toes and the soldier who fired the bullets is arrested:

On the other hand, a sniper attempts to murder innocent civilians, and fortunately only one bullet causes any harm, nicking a girl in the arm.

And yet, in the first case the rioter had no fear of being killed (they know that a) they would not be shot dead b) the soldiers use rubber bullets, so even if they are hit, its not as dangerous. In the second case, people were likely scared for their lives, and the community's safety was affected. (Since one sniper got away with that, others are encouraged to follow.)

And yet, I'd place a bet with any bookie that not a squeak was heard in any American or European newspaper.

Batya said...

The media. Not news when Jews are attacked, only when Jews try to defend themselves...