Keshev: The Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel
Subject Monitoring: March 10-11, 2005
During February 2005, security forces killed six Palestinian civilians that were not combatants (including two minors, according to figures provided by B’tselem), and injured dozens more. None of these incidents was widely reported, nor were any of them reported with the emotion that accompanied reporting on the death of the dog “Arkos”, killed during the pursuit of a suspect in the Stage club bombing in Tel Aviv. The situation report presented below reaches the depressing conclusion that in the view of many of the major media outlets in Israel, the blood of a “Jewish” dog is worth more than the blood of Palestinians.
Israeli media consumers learned about the actions that took the lives of the Palestinians in the inside pages of the newspapers or on the margins of news reports. Among the three major newspapers, only Ha’aretz (Feb. 6, 2005) reported at length about two unarmed Palestinians that were killed while trying to enter Israel. Though all of the newspapers reported the killing of a Palestinian on February 10, the incident was reported as part of the coverage of mortar shelling of Gush Katif, which Hamas claimed was in response to the said killing. No newspaper investigated in depth what exactly transpired there. It wasn’t until four days later that Danny Rubenstein wrote about the matter in an opinion column in Ha’aretz. The other killings were not covered at all.
The television news broadcasts of March 10, 2005, except that of Channel 2, and the next day’s newspapers, all reported at length about the death of the dog “Arkos”, which occurred during a manhunt after the individual responsible for the bomb attack on the Stage club in Tel Aviv. The vast attention that the media devoted to the subject and the fact that it was emphasized as the most important event in the pursuit is noteworthy when compared with the limited and marginal coverage that the Israeli press usually gives to cases in which Palestinians are killed or wounded by the IDF.
A headline at the opening of the Channel 10 broadcast announced that “Soldiers Eulogize the Dog Killed Tonight in the Territories”. The channel then devoted a separate story to describe the manhunt after the terrorist. On Channel 1, anchor Haim Yavin directed viewers to reporter Moshe Gertel’s story with these words: “Almost two weeks after the attack in Tel Aviv, IDF solders killed the terrorist responsible for the attack in his home. One who did not return from the operation was the fighting dog Arkos”. The story focused on the dog’s biography and hardly mentioned other matters related to the event. (Because of a technical problem that disrupted the opening headlines on Channel 1, we do no know if they mentioned Arkos’s death).
The next day, on March 11, the newspapers gave expanded coverage to the issue. A front-page headline from Yedioth Ahronoth proclaimed, “Combat Dog Killed in the Line of Duty” and featured a half-page picture from the dog’s funeral. Another headline on page 4 read “In Death, the Brave Dog Saved Soldiers”. Ma’ariv also built up the dog’s mythical image with a front-page photo above the bold caption “Farewell to a Four-legged Fighter”. A headline on page 3 read “Farewell to a Best Friend” and beside it appeared a large picture of “Fighting Dogs”. The articles on the subject described at length the dog’s courage and his “operational record” and focused on the grief of the soldier, Oded, that worked beside him. Ha’aretz also mentioned the dog’s death in a headline on page 2, but it did so as a matter of fact, unlike the dramatic and tragic framing of the issue in the other two newspapers. Direct and to the point, the secondary headline in Ha’aretz read “The suspect hid on the roof, killed a dog that was sent to find him, until an IDF bulldozer collapsed the building upon him”.
Yedioth Ahronoth, page 1, March 11 2005
Ma’ariv, page 3, March 11 2005