Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A Ministry of Information…in Israel! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It would appear to be the case that the infection has also spread to the Hebrew state.

Never before has this happened in the history of Israel; the Israeli cabinet has decided to establish a Ministry of Information in Israel for the first time since the state was founded in 1948. This is a major transition for the media in that country.

It is common in Western democracies that governments might avoid establishing a Ministry of Information and instead call for development within the regime so as to eliminate the need for such a ministry.

Israel will have a Ministry of Information.

Establishing this kind of ministry in Israel does not mean that this is its only setback or that this is its biggest defect; perhaps this step will come to complete an era of setbacks and defects.

Us Arab journalists, or at least some of us, always felt that the media in Israel is part of a more “advanced” system than our own and is supported by more liberal and democratic laws and systems than our own. In this way, an Israeli journalist can expose the actions carried out by his/her own state, condemn its violations and its officials, and try them in court, which has happened and is still happening in Israel.

Israel has decided it is time to establish a Ministry of Information and this decision coincided with the signs that preceded the rise to power of Israel’s right-wing politicians. The signs that appeared during the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip signalled Israel’s absolute endeavour to employ its media to serve in the battle even though in the end, it was the media that exposed military violations committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip. It doesn’t stop there; the choice made by Israeli voters indicated the desire of the masses to go further than what Israel says are the foundations of the Hebrew state that is represented by institutions, the work of which is generally respected.

It is common knowledge today in Israel that democracy cannot abolish or limit the security threat and that the rights of minorities, even if they are granted by the constitution, are not sacred, not to mention the ensuing discussion on the Judaism of the state or the rejection of the two-state solution.

There is no doubt that Israel’s image has been deteriorating for over two decades in the eyes of Western public opinion, especially after violations in the Lebanon and Gaza wars have been brought to light and the right-wing politicians have come to power in Israel.

Considering the shift that is taking place within the new US administration, and the increasing resentment amongst Europeans towards Israel’s racialist, oppressive policies, the Jewish state is having difficulty marketing itself to a public opinion that was supposed to support it – the distinct state surrounded by an ocean of backwardness that seeks to destroy it.

Today the decision to establish a Ministry of Information in Israel is being met with confrontation from international public opinion that is now sceptical about Israel. The need for a stereotypical image to be presented to public opinion can only be guaranteed by a media that seeks to market a certain image, not to impose censorship.