This is getting to be a habit, writing a Good News Friday post after a terrible week in which Israelis have been killed and injured by bloodthirsty murderous Palestinian terrorists, aided and abetted by a willing international media, and diplomats who should know better. (John Kerry, I’m looking at you).
And yet, as i have said in my previous Friday posts, life still goes on, Shabbat still comes around once a week, and we need to have a dose of good news to relieve the onslaught of bad. So here is my attempt at good news for this week.
Starting with Israel’s international standing, this week India’s President Pranab Mukherjee became the first Indian Prime Minister to ever visit Israel.
On the last day of his historic first trip to Israel, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee extended an invitation on Thursday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit India, which would be only the second visit there by an Israeli prime minister The invitation came during a working lunch the two held in Jerusalem, during which, according to the Prime Minster’s Office, the two focused on bilateral ties in the fields of security, technology, innovation, and agriculture.
Mukherjee’s visit was the first ever by an Indian president to Israel, and as such was as important for its symbolism as for the substance of the talks. A sitting Indian prime minister has never visited Israel, although current prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to do so in the coming months. Then prime minister Ariel Sharon traveled to India in 2003.
In a special Knesset session honoring Mukherjee at the Knesset on Wednesday, Netanyahu repeatedly referred to Modi as his “friend,” and said they speak regularly.
Netanyahu, in remarks to Mukherjee Wednesday evening at a state dinner at the president’s residence, spoke of Israel’s desire to “diversify markets,” with India being a major target.
Netanyahu said that while Israel is “European,” it is “looking to the east.”
“We appreciate Europe,” he said. “We admire Asia.”
Well said Bibi! And welcome to Israel and safe journey home Mr. Mukherjee. We hope this will be the start of a new “beautiful friendship” between our two countries.
Talking of international relations, Israel received an unexpected boost of support from British MP Sir Eric Pickles, the former Communities Secretary, who accused the BBC and the Independent of biased reporting on the situation in Israel. “We deserve better reporting of these evil attacks” he wrote in Conservative Home, as the Jewish News reports:
Israel has been shaken to its core in recent weeks. Israelis are being attacked for little other reason than because they are Jewish. As the attacks have escalated in number and severity, the relative silence of the international media has been deafening. The little coverage that there has been is all too often inexcusably one-sided. Let’s look at two examples, one from broadcast the other the press, to speak for the many.
The BBC – legally obligated to display total impartiality – set a very low standards in its reporting. On Sunday, 11 October, correspondent Orla Guerin produced an extraordinary report on the recent wave of attacks that claimed “there’s no sign of involvement by militant groups”, before immediately showing footage of Palestinian Islamic Jihad banners at the home of a 19-year-old terrorist who carried out a deadly knife attack at Lions Gate in Jerusalem on 3 October.
The BBC’s original coverage of this attack also attracted controversy, with a headline being amended four times from its misleading original version that read: ‘Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attacks kills two’.
On the same day, The Independent ran a story online under the headline: ‘Israel kills pregnant Palestinian mother and her baby in revenge attacks’. A dreadful human tragedy that is truly heartbreaking, but the mother and her child were not selected for murder as a calculated reprisal by the Israeli Defence Force as this newspaper implied.
No one objects to robust reporting, and reporters must follow through on incidences of violence, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading in Tel Aviv, London or Washington, but readers are entitled to balance and fairness so that they can make their own mind up.
Well said Sir Eric! I hope you take the matter up with the BBC and the Independent and shame them into changing their reporting.
And now I bring you two videos to conclude this short post. The first is a PR video for the community of Bruchin in Samaria (next door to my son’s town), which was just brought to my attention. It’s such a happy, cheerful video that it gets you dancing and smiling:
And for a grand finale, a flash mob sings Hatikva on the Jerusalem Light Rail. (To be honest I was expecting stones to come crashing through the windows at any moment…):
May the Hatikva which was so beautifully sung here bring us hope for the coming week ahead. May we have an end to the violence and killing and may Jerusalem and Israel enjoy peace.
Shabbat Shalom everyone.