Susan C. Anthony

USA Today photo of weeping Palestinian womanDeath in Jerusalem

The morning before we left, we took a tour of the Western Wall tunnel. We arrived a little late because we misunderstood where we were to meet. When we joined the group, the guide was talking about a terrible tragedy that had occurred early that morning. She told us we would be the first group allowed to exit the Western Wall tunnel at its other end that day. A man had been stabbed to death in the street just outside the far end of the tunnel. His wife was supposed to have been our tour guide that day.

The man, a 28-year-old pacifist Orthodox Jew, had been on his way to pray at the Western Wall. He entered the Damascus Gate and was walking along a wide, well-traveled avenue through the Muslim Quarter that is frequently traveled by Jews en route to pray. He was attacked and stabbed to death by Muslims. His blood was still wet on the stones as we passed by the site of the crime at the end of our tour.

It was interesting to see how the American press reported the story. USA Today covered it briefly with a picture and caption on Friday, May 8, 1998. In the picture (above), a woman in traditional Muslim headdress rests her head on her hand. Behind her are three Israelis with machine guns. The caption reads:

Jerusalem dispute: Israeli police guard a building that a Palestinian woman says belongs to her family. Settlers occupied the building to protest the stabbing of an Israeli.

How could the press have considered a dispute over this building to be more newsworthy than murder? Why did they say "stabbing" rather than "murder"? What sort of Israeli are we to assume the victim was based on this coverage, a soldier with a machine gun? What about the wife of the man who was murdered, left alone to rear two children? Didn't she have more reason to mourn than a woman who had been temporarily barred from entering a building? This is an excellent example of how media can slant truth without saying anything technically untrue!

The Washington Post told the story in a paragraph of a larger article entitled "Netanyahu Says U.S. 'Cannot Dictate to Us.'"

Early this morning, a 28-year-old Jewish religious student was stabbed to death in Jerusalem's Old City and Israeli police say they believe it was a political attack by Arabs. Hours later, in the West Bank settlement of Eli, a Jewish settler was stabbed in the chest by a Palestinian who wandered into the Jewish community. The settler shot and killed the Palestinian, identified only as a 30-year-old man from a nearby Arab village.

The New York Times gave the story a headline of its own: "Jew Is Slain in Jerusalem and Palestinian in West Bank." An accompanying photo shows a friend of the slain Jew kneeling at the site of the stabbing. The little detail about the Palestinian having attacked the Jewish settler with a knife was not mentioned in the Washington Post story. Didn't that seem important enough to mention?

Jerusalem, May 6 - A yeshiva student was stabbed to death today as he walked to morning prayers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. Separately, an Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian who, the army said, had attacked him with a knife in the West Bank.

The student was from a yeshiva run by Ateret Cohanim, a religious nationalist group that has bought properties and settled in the Muslim quarter of the walled Old City, a source of friction with Arab neighbors. The student was identified as Haim Kerman, 28, a father of two.

The police said Mr. Kerman was ambushed and repeatedly stabbed at 5:45 a.m. on the Via Dolorosa, the route revered by Christians as the path that Jesus followed to his Crucifixion. Mr. Kerman managed to draw his gun and fire, but the assailant apparently took it, the police said.

"The murder is almost certainly on a nationalistic background," Police Chief Yair Yitzhaki said.

Mayor Ehud Olmert said Mr. Kerman had most likely been killed "by Arab terrorists."

Because the media is generally our only source of information, it is very easy to be misled into erroneous conclusions. We must be constantly on guard. Most people who have witnessed or participated in events covered by the media have been amazed at how different a reported story is from what they themselves witnessed. Jesus in John 8:44 calls Satan "a liar and the father of liars." The most effective lies are actually those camouflaged in truth.

Six Israelis Die in AmbushHere's a 2002 article from our local paper.  My question is, what does the photo have to do with the headline? 

The story itself reads: 

In an audacious ambush on a West Bank outpost on Tuesday night, Palestinian gunmen killed six Israeli soldiers and then escaped, stunning an army already reeling from the deaths of seven soldiers since Thursday. 

It was the most lethal attack on Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in more than 16 months of fighting.

It seems to me that an unbiased reporter would occasionally illustrate stories like these with photos of grieving Israeli wives, sisters and mothers. 

Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony