At the end of my recent sabbatical in Israel, I was sent a CBC article that featured a beautiful photograph of my son, Yonah, in his IDF uniform. At the top of the piece were a number of meaningful quotes about why he chose to become a lone soldier. It seemed like a good story.
But as I read on, I became confused, chagrined, angry and sad. I found myself screaming within. Tears were falling down my face. Innuendos, partial truths, vicious lies, slander and propaganda were hitting me from all directions. Then, the article returned to Yonah and his best friend in the world, Noam Zeldin, who’s also a lone soldier.
The last time I saw Yonah, I dropped him off at a bus stop, so he could return to the primary purpose of his being in Israel: serving our brothers and sisters in our spiritual and historic homeland. A mere two days later, I called him to ask if he had seen the CBC article. After he received it and read it, he was confused.
“When were you interviewed by the CBC?” I asked. “Over two years ago,” he replied. I then asked how they knew about him. He answered: “The CBC reporter contacted me soon after The Canadian Jewish News did a feature article on Canadian lone soldiers in Israel.” I asked him if he inquired as to the purpose of the interview. “Yes,” he said, “the reporter said that she was writing a follow-up piece on The CJN article about the life of lone soldiers.”
But what resulted was a very different type of story. Indeed, even though Israel has the most moral military in the world and is a staunch ally of Canada’s, the CBC article raises questions about dual loyalties, questions the financial structure of the lone soldier program and compares foreign soldiers who serve in the IDF with those who fight for ISIS. The CBC article reduces itself to moral relativism by comparing how many Israelis and Palestinians have died in conflicts over the past couple of years. What Yonah and Noam perceived as a harmless interview about their lives in the Jewish state became an anti-Israel rant.
During my last two days in Israel, I discussed the article with many people, including Mike Fegelman at Honest Reporting Canada, which has filed an official complaint with the CBC.
While my emotions have run in a million directions, we should all be proud of Yonah and Noam, whose comments in the article shine like the brightness of the firmament. Sadly, however, even in a civilized society like Canada’s, their purity and sincerity were manipulated and abused, with the goal of smearing the State of Israel. But why now and for what purpose? After all, the boys were interviewed over two years ago.
It is fair and understandable for one to honestly challenge a specific policy of Israel’s in the context of loving Israel. But, in my opinion, the CBC article was a purposeful and blatant attack on the Jewish state.
I am proud of our lone soldiers and I am sad that their idealism has been used against them. I am angry at the CBC and its supporters.
This is just one of many examples of anti-Semitism – or anti-Zionism masquerading as anti-Semitism – in the media. A gun, a sword or a missile may tragically kill its intended targets. However, as the saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Once the button is pressed, an article goes out to thousands upon thousands of readers and has the power to turn many against Israel.
We cannot sit idly by. We need to react, respond, contact our civic leaders and media outlets. As scripture teaches us, “L’ma’an Tzion Lo Eche’sheh” – “For the sake of Zion I will not be silent.”