Israel: Life in Sderot

Blogger Rick Richman brings us up-to-date with the latest developments in the Israeli town of Sdoret.
“The invaluable One Jerusalem held a bloggers’ conference call today with Noam Bedein of the Sderot Media Center to provide some perspective. The audio of the call is here.
Bedein told a story of rockets all the time, usually in the morning to terrorize the kids on their way to school (half the kids in Sderot are clinically traumatized), no governmental support (much less retaliation), no media coverage in the absence of blood (but the entire city is terrorized by anxiety every time there is a 15 second Red Alert) — just sports, weather and seven seconds of ‘rockets again in Sderot, no one injured,'” he explains.


  • This is indeed an interesting link, but as far as I could ascertain by reading Mr Richman’s blog, he’s not an Israeli blogger. I get the impression that GVO chooses not to distinguish between Jews living outside of Israel who often write about Israel and those of us who actually live here. Just because someone is Jewish doesn’t mean that they are Israeli, even if they write about Israel-related subjects.

    While Mr Richman’s blog is indeed pro-Israel, by insinuating that he is a member of the Israeli blogosphere, GVO blurs the distinction between Israel and the worldwide Jewish community, the majority of whom are first and foremost loyal citizens of the countries in which they live, and who may not feel any real connection to Israel, other than in some abstract sense. GVO does a great disservice to its readers by implying that there is no difference between Israelis and Jews (who do not hold Israeli citizenship) living outside of Israel, while at the same time ignoring the fact that Israel is a multi-cultural society. Not all Jews are Israeli, and not all Israelis are Jewish (and some of these non-Jewish Israelis even have blogs).

  • Dear Liza,
    Thank you for your comment and clarification. Your argument is valid – as valid as the counter-argument which says that since this is a post which deals with Israeli matters, then it warrants a link. I don’t recall saying anywhere that Mr Richman is Israeli or Jew and thus I don’t find myself misleading anyone or doing any country/religious group a disservice. Once again, thank you for dropping by and thank you for your valuable contribution. And if it is not too big of a bother for you, in case you come across some interesting Israeli blogs, please email me the links and I would be more than happy to include them in my daily round ups :) The aim is to get as many voices and comments out there to reflect the wide spectrum of commentary on blogs and it is only with the support of interested people like yourself – who obviously know their blogospheres – that we will succeed in this mission.

  • Hi Amira,

    So, just so I understand. If a Muslim born and raised in the US has visited a Muslim country a few times and decides to write a blog post about that Muslim country, it could be included in a roundup for that country? Does that mean that anyone from anywhere can write something about any country and it might get a link on GVO? Doesn’t that sort of detract from the goals of GVO? I thought the idea was to read what people who live in these countries (or at the very least are “representing” the nationality/culture that they are writing about) have to say. It seems rather silly that I, as an Israeli, could write a post about Mexico and it would get a link in the Mexican roundup.

    And no, you didn’t mention that Mr Richman is either an Israeli or a Jew, but first, when his blog is given a link under the category “Recent Links also in Middle East & North Africa”, it implies that the blog is based in the Middle East, and second, during a quick perusal of Mr Richman’s blog (titled “Jewish Current Issues”), I was quickly able to reach the conclusion that not only is he Jewish, but that he doesn’t actually live in Israel (he’s got a number of posts on his blog that deal with visits to Israel).

    If you are trying to provide a picture of Israel as it is seen through the eyes of those who live here, then it is misleading to include anyone who happens to write about Israel in either the links section or the roundup. Just as not all Catholics are Italian or Irish, not all Jews are Israeli. The terms “Israeli” and “Jew” are not interchangeable, and when posts written by Jews outside of Israel are included in the Israel roundup or given links in the Israel section, the distinction is indeed blurred.

    Perhaps there should be a separate section for posts written by people who do not live in (or are not originally from) the country or region about which they are writing, so that it will be clear to readers that the voices aren’t actually local.

  • Dear Liza,
    We can go on forever arguing that yes: I understand and appreciate the points you are making.. and you will still continue to argue in their favour, which is your full right. I will not stop you. I can’t and have no right to do so.
    I respect your rights to express your views and while I strive to pick a handful of daily links from more than 1,000 blogs on my aggregator, I am fully aware that there will be people who will question my choice and ulterior motives. It is your right to do so.
    What I find as futile is trying to reason with people the ‘silly’ fact that the Internet and blogs in particular have no geographical boundaries or limits. Yes, an Israeli can write about Mexico and a Mexican can write about Israel. No one will stop them. The sad reality for many is that NO ON CAN STOP THEM.
    Once again I understand the argument you are making and I appreciate it. I will also consider it when doing future round ups on Israel.
    However, with this post, in particular, you are (excuse my French) barking up the wrong tree. There are two links: one to Mr Richman’s blog and the other to One Jerusalem – an Israeli blog which warrants the link to Israel and should therefore fall under the Israel category, which happens to be in the Middle East and North Africa.
    Thank you for dropping by and looking forward for more constructive criticism from you.

  • Actually, Amira, One Jerusalem is not an Israeli blog. As you will see here, in the blog’s FAQ section, it is clearly stated that: “One Jerusalem is an international, U.S. based educational foundation that operates around the world to educate children and adults about the importance of Jerusalem remaining the united and undivided capital of the State of Israel.”

    I do not have the impression that Liza is questioning your motives at all. She is merely making a very logical point, which you have not actually addressed: a blog by an American who lives in the United States does not fall into the category of Israeli blogs. By showing an idea of life in Israel through the eyes of Jewish bloggers who live in America, you are not, in fact, showing life in Israel. Instead, you are showing how some American Jews view Israel. Recently I wrote a post on my own blog about an Israeli documentary film, Hummus Curry, that takes place in India. I mention in that post that I have visited India several times, and I certainly have a strong interest in India. However, I am not Indian and I do not live in India. So I would be pretty shocked if my blog post appeared in the India author’s roundup of posts by Indian bloggers.

    There is in fact an enormous gap between the mentality of American Jews and Israelis. So what you are doing by posting links to American blogs about Israel under the rubric of Israel/Palestine is this: whether you intend to or not, you are giving GVO readers the impression that American Jews are representative of Israeli society. And they simply are not. Only a tiny percentage of American Jews have ever even visited Israel, very few of them speak Hebrew and most of them have political opinions that are far to the right of mainstream Israeli political opinion.

    I understand that your intentions are good. No-one is trying to put you on the defensive. Liza – and now I – are simply trying to explain that these blogs you have linked to are not Israeli. They are American. Or, to put a finer point on the matter, they are by Americans who are interested in Israel, but they do not reflect real life in Israel. Which is fine, but not relevant for GV links about the Israeli blogosphere.

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