Israeli media must stop covering radicals like Itamar Ben-Gvir

The criticism of the Shin Bet following the latest terrorist wave is legitimate. It is fair to doubt the decision-making process of the security body that granted Palestinian Sheikh Raed Salah, who served 17 months in prison for incitement to terrorism, access to the Temple Mount.

Yet if we take a minute to look at the bigger picture, we can easily see that the Shin Bet’s recent outburst against MK Itamar Ben-Gvir over his praise of Jewish radical and mass murderer Baruch Goldstein, is another thing that feeds the endless cycle of incitement.

Many of us owe our lives to the Shin Bet. Over the years it has remained one of the most effective security organizations in the modern world.

So where are the recent criticisms of the Shin Bet coming from?

Israel is a democracy, with checks and balances, and limits. Countless human rights organizations, national and international, scrutinize every Shin Bet move. Palestinians view cooperation with the Shin Bet as treason – punishable by death.

Whatever the difficulties, the Shin Bet prevails.

The success rate is not one hundred percent, and the recent terrorist attacks are proof of that. Nevertheless, many Israeli Arabs who attempt to fight crime within their communities support and appreciate the Shin Bet.

Then, Ben-Gvir enters the scene, angry with the security agency for forbidding him to visit the Temple Mount amid escalating security tensions. In response, the Shin Bet did what it rarely feels the need to do – they explained their decision by pointing out the consensus on this, saying that this decision was backed by intelligence, which indicated potential harm that could be caused to state security.

The Shin Bet’s view on this subject is not new. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said of the far-right MK: “He wanted me to allow Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount. It may sound logical, but I know it would set the Middle East on fire. would set a billion Muslims on fire. And I said that’s where I draw the line.

While soon after Netanyahu himself became the object of justified criticism, he knew at the time the evil that would come to the Middle East if Ben-Gvir were to act on his intentions.

Therefore, the MK’s harassment of the Shin Bet is not done for security reasons. It’s a battle with one goal: to make him the one pulling the strings of incitement and ignition. He wants more violence. He wants to set the Middle East on fire. There is enough history to teach us that circumstances are what pave the way for nationalism and racism to take over.

So what does the average civilian have to say about the Shin Bet and its handling of the recent wave of terror?

There have been waves of terror over the past three decades, and the Shin Bet has proven it can successfully thwart an overwhelming majority of planned attacks.

The success rate of eliminating or bringing to justice terrorists who succeed in carrying out attacks is almost 100%. Yet the instigator and his followers manage to wage the toxic propaganda campaign against those who dedicate their lives to protecting us.

Ben-Gvir’s antics, however, made him a media star. And there will come a day when the Israeli media will have to think about their choices. The sooner he begins the process of self-reflection, the better.

There is no doubt that the media is a stage for expression for a range of opinions. There is no doubt that controversial viewpoints must also have their say on this platform. This is the definition of democracy. Because within our society, there are many contradictory opinions, in many different areas.

However, there are a few areas that we have to agree are prohibited. When an extremist, on the right or on the left, makes himself a symbol of racism and the media offers him a platform, we cannot speak of freedom of expression.

It is distortion, freedom of incitement and manipulation. It’s just the media blindly chasing the ratings, and that’s exactly what’s happening here.

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