Hamas War

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Unpublished Letters to The Jerusalem Post Re: David Bar-Illan Z"L, Yaakov Katz and David Hazony

Sometimes it seems that everything I write gets into the paper, and then... there are times like this. Last week I wrote two letters to the editor, and neither got published. If you're wondering why I don't try for op-eds, the answer is simple. Way back when, I did try, but I was told that I wouldn't get paid, and I couldn't use the articles in any other format, like my blog. Also, it could take a couple of weeks until they'd decide. Once years before that it took them a couple of months until I discovered my op-ed published. Of course, by the time I'd realize that it was buried, it would be irrelevant, out-of-date. That's when I decided that I'm better of just blogging my thoughts and opinions.

I don't think these two are "irrelevant, out-of-date," so here goes...  What do you think? Please say in the comments and share if you like them, thanks.


What a thrill it was for me to open up the Jerusalem Post Magazine and be greeted by the legendary David Bar-Illan and the familiar and long lamented EYE ON THE MEDIA, although by Gil Hoffman.

I'll never forget hysterically barging into David Bar-Illan's office in the week before Purim, 1996, a time when horrific Arab terror attacks -mostly suicidal bus explosions- were frequently daily, shouting:
"The police are lying!! It wasn't an accident! It was a terror attack!! Either send a reporter to interview me, or give me a computer, and I'll write it up myself."
David quickly ended his phone call, led me to the couch in his office and asked for the story. 
I had been waiting at the bus stop across from Givat Hamivtar, which is now under the lightrail train tracks, to get home to Shiloh, when an Arab terrorist made a sharp right onto the sidewalk, turning left on my foot knocking me down and then mowed down a number of other innocent civilians, murdering one and seriously injuring others. Soldiers suddenly appeared and ordered all who could to run far away, since they suspected that the terrorist's car would be exploding any second.
My foot wasn't yet seriously swollen, so I ran with a neighbor across the street and around the corner to Eshkol Blvd, where I caught a bus towards the Central Bus Station and Terem First Aid. On the bus I heard the radio report in which the police claimed that there had been an "accident" at our bus stop. After being x-rayed at Terem and told that nothing was broken, a friend picked me up and took me to the Jerusalem Post building, where I noticed that David Bar-Illan's office was right by the entrance.
Bar-Illan first made sure I was comfortable with my injured foot properly propped up and then sent a reporter to get my story, which appeared on the next day's front page. Within the next couple of days, I was asked to write it up myself as an op-ed, and he (according to the information Gil Hoffman gives in his article) wrote a full length editorial using the information I had given.
Before ending this reminiscence of David Bar-Illan, I must add that he had another profession and didn't need the stress and aggravation of top Israeli journalism. He was an accomplished concert pianist. That's how I had originally met him, at a salon performance in London.

Batya Medad, Shiloh

Yaakov Katz
David Hazony

I hope my mixing of two articles from different parts of the Friday newspaper isn't like mixing meat and milk in a kosher kitchen, but there are similarities in both Yaakov Katz's and David Hazony's articles. They both start out very well, bringing up good points, but then unfortunately both come to the wrong conclusions. 

I'll start with Katz who reminds or informs those who may be ignorant of the fact that even Menachem Begin during his three decades as head of the opposition never lambasted the Government of Israel when abroad, no matter how much he protested their policies while in Israel and no matter how badly he was treated, including during the pre-state period. Begin was well-known for his dignified and patriotic behavior. This was even after Begin's supporters had been attacked by the Palmach when the Altalena was approaching port with arms to be used for the defense of the nascent State of Israel. Begin reacted in tears; he didn't call for a reprisal attack. Such a total difference between Menachem Begin and Israel's opposition, which is calling for rebellion, for blood --I trust you've heard what Ehud Barak and others have been saying. There is no excuse for the outrageous anti-Israel/Netanyahu protests and media campaign even abroad. They are playing into the hands of our most dangerous enemies. I don't understand how Katz doesn't totally condemn them.

Now for David Hazony... He really starts off well, very well in describing his participation in anti-Oslo protests. Hazony mentions something which really caught my attention. 
I was active in opposing Oslo. I attended the infamous Zion Square rally in 1995 in which posters I never saw apparently depicted Rabin in an SS uniform. This became a big scandal after the fact, one that didn’t diminish when the posters were retroactively downgraded to leaflets. Nor was the rally a platform of incitement, the way it has been depicted in the official history. Did anyone call Rabin a “traitor”? Yes; a small group of hyperventilating youths shouted it out – and were then immediately told off by the speakers on the balcony, including Netanyahu. But if one should judge a protest by the stupidest words of its fringe, today’s movement is no better.
The notorious "Rabin poster" was neither central to the demonstrations nor noticeable. Just to remind people that Avishai Raviv, the Shabak agent who had been involved with Right wing youth during that time, may very well had been involved.

I relate to and agree with Hazony's article until he starts "If today’s protest movement turns tragic –"

For some inexplicable reason, he coats today's  anti-government protests with Teflon when they have crossed every single red line in a true democracy. The anti-government protests aren't simply anti-Judicial Reform. Don't be naive. Read the slogans. Listen to their leaders. It's not the young powerless "fringe"  calling for blood. It's the adult leaders, those you'd expect to be responsible for reigning in the extremists.
They want to undo/override the legal elections and veto democracy. Democracy is about numbers. If you can't pull together a coalition of more than half, minimally 61 Knesset Members, then you've lost the election. 

The leaders of this protest movement have lots of money to fund their protests, but they don't have the votes. Democracy is about votes. So the truth is that they are anti-democracy, contrary to their slogans. They've attempted to redefine democracy to make it a synonym of "progressive" political ideology.

Yaakov, David, you both disappoint me. Spit out the Kool Aid and look at the facts.

Batya Medad, Shiloh בתי'ה


Adam Dalgliesh said...

I had a very similar experience with David Bar-Illan when I was in Israel in 1992, shortly before the announcement of the Oslo agreements. I explained to Mr, Bar-Illan that I had been doing some independent research over a period of time about anti-Israel bias in the Amereican press, especially in the New York Times, After making me comfortable, just as he had with Batya, even serving me a cup of tea, he agreed to publish my research as guest columns in his own column space. This eventually led to four of my columns about anti-Israel bias in the American press being published by the Post. When I returned to the United States, David called me on the phone several times with editorial suggestions to my drafts, which improved these columns considerably. He also commented on my findings in his own columns. I have never met either before or since such a fine gentleman and Israeli patriot as David Bar-Illan. I greatly miss him.

Batya said...

Thank you so much for telling your story. David Bar-Illan is definitely missed. None of his successors have gotten near his talents, skills and menschkeit.