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Non-Jewish Israelis remain faceless, nameless, voiceless in ‘New York Times’ coverage

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I suggest New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren put a sign above her desk that says, “one out of five Israelis is Palestinian.” Because she once again forgets this fact in an article about public buses on the Sabbath– “Push for Buses on Sabbath Sets off Debate in Israel.”  The article goes on for 1,200 words, and does not quote a single Palestinian Israeli.

The story is actually somewhat interesting. A group of seculars and leftwingers want public transportation on the Sabbath.

“Public transportation is a necessity: I think it should be like electricity or water or gas,” said Omry Hazut, 27, who started the Facebook protest. “State and religion, this bond, is broken a lot of times, but only if you can afford it. If you can afford a car, you can pull the switch and start it on Saturday, but if you can’t, you won’t have any option of leaving your house.”

Right; everything grinds to a halt on the Sabbath in Israel and occupied Jerusalem. Rudoren quotes a few Jewish Israelis on this issue, on both sides, but she and Irit Pazner Garshowitz and Myra Noveck, who contributed reporting to the piece, do not talk to a single Palestinian to get their opinion about a), the inconvenience, because we’re talking about public buses, and b), how do they feel to have one day of their week shut down for another religion’s observance?

You don’t think she could find one Palestinian who wants to travel from Jerusalem to Nazareth on Saturday to visit family and can’t afford a car?

You don’t think she could find one Palestinian to say:

I don’t think too much of it, but every week I’m reminded that I live in a theocracy where someone else’s religion is in charge.


James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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45 Responses

  1. amigo on April 26, 2015, 12:36 pm

    Rudoren is the new Golda meir with a slight variation.

    There are no non Jews in the Jewish State.

    Amazing how she manages to ignore those circa 1.5 million internal enemies of the State that lie-berman is always complaining about.

    Btw , is Rudoren on her way to Nepal to tell us about Israel,s humanitarian efforts .

    • Bumblebye on April 26, 2015, 7:39 pm

      Yup. Israel has to save 24 babies born to surrogates for Israeli couples. So there’ll be a gushing piece by Rudoren doting on newborns and the parents who’ve waited years to fulfill dreams of a family, yada yada. Minimal (if any) Nepali input or stories.

  2. Marnie on April 26, 2015, 1:05 pm

    She can save herself a trip and thank the US instead of the zionist state; it’s easy to be a humanitarian with someone else’s money. If the zionist state didn’t get the steady mainline hot shot of cash from its sugar daddy/pusher Uncle Sam I doubt they’d be doing a lot on the humanitarian front. No one should be fooled by “humanitarian efforts”. It’s only a PR prop, and most importantly, you have to be human first. It’s amazing they’ll help dark skinned folk everywhere in the world, except in their own back yard. Those poor souls are being sent from the asylum they sought to certain death. Thanks Zionists!

    • jon s on April 26, 2015, 3:53 pm

      Your comment belongs in the damned-if-we-do-damned -if -we-don’t department.
      If we would NOT join so many other countries in sending aid to Nepal you would be saying “the whole world sends aid to a country hit by a natural disaster; Zionists don’t care”.
      If we do send aid -it’s a “PR prop”.

      • amigo on April 26, 2015, 4:05 pm

        “Your comment belongs in the damned-if-we-do-damned -if -we-don’t department.” jon s

        Try a little kindness to the people you are oppressing and then we would believe it,s not a “PR prop”, Otherwise Israel,s claims of being a humanitarian state ring hollow.

        Al capone used to walk through the neighborhood passing out gifts to folks while his loot-entants were robbing and murdering people.

      • on April 26, 2015, 5:18 pm

        When Israel spends a lot more money and time publicizing these “charitable acts’ (remember the Haitian earthquake — sent a medical team for one week and spent 2 years bragging about it) than it does performing them, and when you consider their treatment of those dusky folks who have sought asylum in Israel (not to mention the Ethiopian Jews), then no fair person can reach any other conclusion.

      • Mooser on April 26, 2015, 6:33 pm

        “Your comment belongs in the damned-if-we-do-damned -if -we-don’t department. “

        Can’t see why it bothers you in the least, “Jon s”. Aren’t you the same guy who quoted the Torah on your obligation to do right in any case?
        And something about the way you should speak, if my memory serves.

      • Marnie on April 27, 2015, 12:00 am

        No Jon, the only part you got right in your pity the zionists trope was damned.

      • Marnie on April 27, 2015, 12:10 am

        No rebuttal to my statement about the Africans being sent to their deaths by the ziostate? And to be clear as crystal Scarlett – “frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” what the ziostate does in its desperate quest for recognition of humanitarian efforts (thanks Uncle Sam!). The blood is not dry from July-August 2014 and as long the ziostate continues on its present course, it never will.

        My sister used to take my parent’s credit card and go on a buying spree but, I guess to distract my parents, she’d make sure to “buy” them a present, too. What a humanitarian!

    • Mayhem on April 27, 2015, 5:26 am

      Nothing is stopping any of the other countries in the Middle East from donating their help to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal but …..
      And the last time I checked Israel is a Jewish state notwithstanding all the efforts by the Palestinians to deny that fact.

      • amigo on April 27, 2015, 11:36 am

        “And the last time I checked Israel is a Jewish state ” mayhem.

        So you agree, Israel is not a democracy.

        Btw , if Israel is a Jewish State , why are all the right wing wackos trying to get a law passed to have it officially recognised as the Jewish State.

        Not that Israeli law is going to trump International law.It never has and never will. The Nazis tried that approach.Look how that turned out for them.

      • Kris on April 27, 2015, 12:13 pm

        @Mayhem: “And the last time I checked Israel is a Jewish state…”

        Please, Mayhem, could you take a minute to explain what a “Jewish” state is? It is confusing to me, and probably to other non-Jews, that “Jewish” doesn’t seem to mean adhering to Judaism. Many “Jews,” even “Jewish” friends of mine, are quick to say that they “don’t believe in any of the religious stuff.” Their “Jewishness” is about ethnicity. Like being Icelandic or Norse, I guess.

        So does “Jewish” state mean that “Jewish” is an ethnicity?

        If “Jewish” is not about Judaism, Israel’s actions, past and present, make a lot more sense.

        According to the great rabbi Hillel, who believed in Judaism, “That which is hateful unto you do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole of the Torah, The rest is commentary. Go forth and study.”

        So “Jewish” nonbelievers would not care about this religious teaching, whereas for “Jewish” believers it might come down to the meaning of “neighbor?” What does “neighbor” mean to “Jewish” believers? Can non-Jews be the “neighbors” of Jews? Or are only “Jews” the neighbors of “Jews” in the sense that was meant by Hillel? So it doesn’t matter how “Jews” behave towards non-Jews?

        I am not trying to be snarky; I really want to understand this.

      • jon s on April 27, 2015, 3:53 pm

        This is the relevant info on the IDF aid mission to Haiti:

        “On January 14, 2010, the Israel Defense Forces sent a medical and rescue team to Haiti following a major earthquake. The delegation was made up of 236 members who ran a field hospital and rescued people from the rubble.

        During its stay in Haiti, the delegation treated more than 1,110 patients, conducted 319 successful surgeries, delivered 16 babies, including three caesarian sections, and rescued survivors from the collapsed buildings.

        The delegation left 30 tons of medical equipment for use in the ongoing aid effort. This included bandages, surgical equipment, two incubators and other medical accessories, as well as 1,150 blankets, 30 large-sized tents, 500 mattresses, 200 sleeping bags and kitchen equipment. The equipment was distributed to tent cities in different locations in Haiti, under the coordination of the Israeli ambassador to Haiti.”
        (Source : IDFblog)

        I’m not naive, and I’m not claiming that the pr angle never occured to the authorities who sent that delegation…. but, so what? It was the right thing to do, whatever the motivations, and , what’s most important, it helped the people of Haiti.

      • Kris on April 27, 2015, 4:46 pm

        jon s, if I were you, I wouldn’t bring up the IDF’s “aid” to Haiti, because it makes Israel look so, well, chintzy, reminding us, as it does, of the MUCH MORE generous aid provided by Cuba, which is a VERY poor country. If you are religious, you might think about Cuba’s example in light of your faith.

        “Since the earthquake, we have treated 347,601 people and performed 8,870 surgeries. We have delivered 1,631 babies and vaccinated 74,493 people.

        “The post-earthquake work is very complex, with large numbers of injured people to treat. Rehabilitation services have been provided to 75,013 people. So far, 75 people have received prostheses to replace lost limbs. Psychosocial treatment is also needed for survivors. 116,000 children, for example, are receiving some form of psychosocial assistance.

        “Rodent and mosquito control in communities and in the survivor camps is an important part of our work, too.

        “RA: The cholera outbreak must have been quite a burden to pile onto the existing post-earthquake work?

        “JBE: Yes, but we had no choice but to respond quickly. The Brigade established 44 cholera treatment units (complete with testing laboratories) and 23 cholera treatment centers. Those numbers are today at 45 and two, respectively. We also have 46 cholera detection units in operation in communities.

        “Our total number of patients in the first year of the epidemic was 76,130. Thirty percent of those were under the age of 15. We suffered 272 deaths in the areas we were serving, but we are very proud to report that we have had no deaths in the past 267 days. Our mortality rate from cholera has declined to 0.36% per patient, compared to the country-wide rate of 1.41%.

        “RA: So give us a summary of Cuba’s medical presence in Haiti today.

        “JBE: At present we have 786 Cuban doctors and health workers in Haiti, and we are working with an additional 21 from Latin American countries. Since the earthquake, we have received U.S. $23 million in financial assistance from international donors.

        “We have 23 communal (provincial) hospitals in operation and ten comprehensive diagnostic centers (operated in cooperation with Venezuela). We have a total of 30 rehabilitation rooms. There are 28 active epidemiological surveillance and control programs (surveying for such threats as malaria and dengue). There are 12 health (family doctor) centers and we are planning to build a laboratory for producing prostheses and three electrotechnical workshops (for equipment maintenance and repair). Two Operation Miracle clinics are still in operation and we are providing technical advice as well as vaccines for vaccination programs.[2]

        “RA: Could you say a few words about your personal experiences?

        “JBE: I work at the field hospital in Leogane (west of Port au Prince, the epicenter of the earthquake). Our work is very complex. I would like to give you an idea of the scope and complexity of the treatment we provide to our patients.

        “We have to deliver medical services. We have treated some 48,00 patients and performed 500 surgeries and 150 deliveries.

        “We have fitted 70 amputees with prostheses. The patients require constant care and follow, including because as a child or adolescent grows, or as a wound heals from an amputation heals, the prosthesis is outgrown and must be replaced. So we must equip ourselves with the capacity to make new ones.

        “Children and new mothers require special care. We have a lot of activities to occupy the children and help to heal their psychological wounds.

        “Our work is performed in tents, so we must take special care to keep everything hygienic. (There is a very good hospital building in Leogane that is underutilized but we have been unable to come to an agreement to help open up the unused sections of the facility.)

        “Food and clean water must be supplied, not only for our hospital but also for the surrounding community, as needed. Everything we do we must insert training of student doctors or health workers. And we must conduct health promotion and education among the population we are serving.

        “So you see, these are very challenging conditions in which we are working.”

        More good info about Cuba’s outstanding acts of charity and mercy in Haiti:

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 6:15 pm

        “In Israel there’s a rising tide of racism , xenophobia and anti-democratic tendencies, especially (though not exclusively) among the Orthodox Jews.” – See more at:

        Giles, I wish Jon s would make his mind up. Seems to have an entirely different opinion every day.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 8:51 pm

        This is the relevant info on the IDF aid mission to Haiti:”

        But that not a single house has been rebuilt in Gaza? Is that relevant?

      • Mayhem on April 27, 2015, 10:27 pm

        A document prepared by the UNSCOP (The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine) in 1947proposed a Partition Plan to divide Palestine into two independent, democratic states – a Jewish one and an Arab one. As we all know, a democratic Palestinian state – and certainly not a democratic one – never did come into existence.
        Referring to Israel’s Declaration of Independence one can throw some light on to the character of the state of Israel:
        “WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. ”
        One can conclude that Israel is a flawed democracy as are all democracies anyway and it’s being a ‘Jewish’ state does not preclude it from being classified as a democracy.

  3. joemowrey on April 26, 2015, 1:37 pm

    Once again, this writer is working on the assumption that Rudoren is a journalist. She is not. She is a paid propagandist. Big difference. She doesn’t need reminding that Palestinians exist. She knows it full well. Her job is to obfuscate that reality whenever possible. If she must mention Palestinians at all, it is best they be nameless, faceless “others” that Jews must fear. To suggest that they are regular people who can be inconvenienced by the conventions of the theocracy in which they live is not her job.

  4. eGuard on April 26, 2015, 1:45 pm

    She did find this rabbi: “Imagine if there was public transportation on the streets like on weekdays. We would not know it is Shabbat in Israel,” said Rabbi Aryeh Stern, one of Jerusalem’s chief rabbis.

    Sure this one won’t create a spark any day of the week.

  5. Stephen Shenfield on April 26, 2015, 8:19 pm

    Palestinians are in fact essential to Sabbath observance in Israel, because they perform the role traditionally assigned to the “Shabbes goy” — the Gentile who does what Jews need doing on the Sabbath but are not allowed to do themselves. In any society there are functions that have to be seen to every day of the week, say in water management, and it is Palestinians who do those things in Israel. So a possible compromise on the bus issue would be for buses to run on Shabbat driven by Palestinians, though as past experience shows that does entail the risk of a Palestinian bus driver getting upset and running people over.

    • Mooser on April 26, 2015, 8:24 pm

      “Shabbes goy” — the Gentile who does what Jews need doing on the Sabbath but are not allowed to do themselves”

      Nope, not touching it. I’d sooner put my hand on an overheating hot-plate than make a joke about that.

    • echinococcus on April 26, 2015, 8:44 pm

      This takes the cherry as most decerebrated comment of the year. The large majority of Herrenrasse inhabitants of Israel are still godless (after many decades of having been the overwhelming majority, from the good old times when Zionism was pure nasty fake nationalism totally disconnected from Judaism.) So where can you see the need for a Schabbes goy?
      What is exactly the excuse for stopping the buses except a need to create endless difficulties for all sorts of people? All bus drivers are so fromm that you can’t function? That would be good news btw, Israel being totally vulnerable on Saturdays.
      Or are you trying to say that Israel is even more of a theocratic dictatorship than Saudi Arabia?

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 11:27 am

        You know, I notice sometimes on Shabbos that when I’m involved in all that Shabbos and Jewish family stuff, I hardly even notice what the rest of the world does.
        Perhaps G-d will forgive me for leaving the smoke alarms on.

    • oldgeezer on April 27, 2015, 12:55 am

      Yes, or being beaten and lynched for the crime of being Palestinian and not Jewish. Just to provide the balance and nuance zionists strive for.

    • Elisabeth on April 27, 2015, 4:19 am

      “though as past experience shows that does entail the risk of a Palestinian bus driver getting upset and running people over. ”

      The Palestinians drivers risk getting spat at, insulted and beaten up. It happens often enough.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 11:28 am

        I’ll take my chances with the Palestinian drivers. I’ve already had an Israeli threaten me with a bus.

    • Marnie on May 4, 2015, 2:35 am

      “The role traditionally assigned to the “Shabbes goy”. It really takes a lot of nerve, chutzpah or just being a gigantic asshole to say something like this. Could you please give a torah reference for this swill? NOT talMUD, Torah. Are you one of those Jews who believe “the Gentile” (a very disgusting, derogatory term if there was one) is on earth to serve the likes of you? And you wanna play like you can’t figure out why some “Gentiles” think Jews are shit? Really? You are too lazy to fix your own damn meals and serve your own damn self on Shabbat because that is a GOY job? Choke on your cholent while you’re at it because if I was serving your “shabbat lunch” or whatever, I’d be putting something mighty special in it for you.

      • Marnie on May 4, 2015, 7:54 am

        I’m not sure if I need to apologize Stephen – I’ve read some of your other posts and now I think you were being sarcastic above. But I’m not sure; I’m having a real hard time anymore knowing if someone is being sarcastic or is serious. If you were being sarcastic (and I really hope you were) then I apologize for my rant.

        If you weren’t being sarcastic, would you like some pie?

  6. Mooser on April 26, 2015, 8:21 pm

    ” one of Jerusalem’s chief rabbis.”

    You bet. Jerusalem’s Schumley Boteach, from all reports.

    “chief rabbis”? Gosh, I didn’t know there was such a title. But then, I guess there’s a lot I don’t know about my own religion.

    • echinococcus on April 26, 2015, 8:52 pm

      Mayest thou know, quoth he, that in the times of the Ottoman Empire in all Arabic-speaking lands every community was organized according to their nominal religion under their own religious leader appointed by the government. The Grand Chacham of every land was chosen by the Sultan’s Governor from among the most obedient and wheeling-dealing members of the clergy. Not an easy thing, for he was also responsible for any missteps of his “subjects”.
      So Zionist Palestine seems to have kept the habit of an enforcer Grand Chacham, along with Ottoman martial law and torture habits.

      • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 11:33 am

        Gee, under those conditions, one could suspect that “chief Rabbi” as an expression, has a whiff of anti-semitism about it.
        Are there regular Rabbis and “chief Rabbis” or not? There must be somebody here familiar with the Jewish clerical hierarchy.

        Yes, ‘spellcheck’ a “chef rabbi” is an excellent idea! Oy the trouble that could have been avoided!

  7. michelle on April 27, 2015, 3:06 am

    movies are the most popular form of media
    for many people the gateway to real issues is through movies/story telling
    movies are a foot in the door to peoples homes
    people will sit and watch/listen/take in stories for hours at a time
    movies are the most popular form of media
    esp movies for all ages
    if there were movies from/about/around the Palestine people
    like the mainstream movies people watch over and over
    like the hunger games
    remember me
    the book thief
    boys in the hood
    the boy in the stripped pjs
    the rainmaker
    its a beautiful life
    water for elephants
    some Dickens and some Shirley Temple plots for the young ones
    if Israel won’t allow this maybe the Palestines who are in exile could represent
    movies are the most powerful form of media
    without G-d we are homeless
    G-d Bless

  8. DoubleStandard on April 27, 2015, 11:48 am

    Such bald anti-Semitic hypocrisy. You’re wetting your pants about whether or not non-Jewish Israelis are inconvenienced by a lack of buses on a Jewish holidays but not a word about the ethnic cleansing of Christians and other religious minorities that’s taking place in every single Muslim country. Maybe that is slightly more pressing.

    • Marnie on April 27, 2015, 12:53 pm


    • Mooser on April 27, 2015, 6:09 pm

      Double Standard, what’s a “chief Rabbi”? How does he (or she, I should know?) differ from an ordinary Rabbi? “Jon s”, would you, as a history teacher, like to tell us how one becomes a “chief Rabbi”?

      • piotr on April 27, 2015, 7:33 pm

        As far as I know, one becomes a Chief Rabbi (there are two, like consuls in ancient Rome) in elections with rules about as transparent as elections for the Supreme Leader of Iran. In the second stage of the process there is a long discussion in the press about the bribes, kickbacks etc. that the newly elected Chief collected while having lesser posts in the past.

        And yes, there are differences. ON EDIT: there are three Chief Rabbis, Ashkenazi, Sefardi and Military.

  9. JeffB on April 27, 2015, 3:16 pm


    b), how do they feel to have one day of their week shut down for another religion’s observance?

    I suspect a lot like the Jews in the west do having their weekend be Saturday and Sunday. Same thing. Funny that this one doesn’t bother you as much.

    • James North on April 27, 2015, 10:07 pm

      Jeff: Does public transport shut down on Sunday in the West? I’ll repeat: “public” transport.

      • JeffB on May 4, 2015, 1:12 pm


        Does public transport shut down on Sunday in the West? I’ll repeat: “public” transport.

        Either shutdown or reduce change schedule absolutely. Take your pick of public transportation systems and start looking at their weekend schedules.

  10. piotr on April 27, 2015, 7:29 pm

    Usually, I thinks that Phil piles to much on Rudoren who tries her best, which may be mediocre but not malevolent. This time she seems to be indeed sloppy.

    The article is illustrated with a picture of a bus on a bus stop in Nazareth, an “Arab town”, hometown of Haneen Zoabi. Does that bus run on Saturdays?

    Nazareth to Tur’an
    *Departures from Nazareth, not all stops listed

    Sunday: 09:05, 10:10, 10:45, 11:40, 12:15, 13:45, 15:00, 16:30
    Mon.-Sat.: 07:00, 08:00, 08:50, 09:20, 10:00, 10:30, 11:20, 12:00, 12:35, 13:20, 14:00, 15:00, 15:45, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30
    Route: Nazareth Beit HaYedidut, Nazareth Frank Sinatra, Nazareth St. Joseph’s School, Nazareth Pizza Panoramic, Nazareth Tahbash, Reine Nazareth Illit 754, Mash’had Entrance, Kfar Cana, Beit Rimmon Jn., Tur’an, Tur’an Mercantile Bank, Tur’an Regional Council

    Apparently, Nazareth central bus station is reasonably busy on Saturdays, but Rudoren does not mention it, even though the bus that she shows in the picture (complete with a woman in a Palestinian dress) runs on Saturday. That observation could give rise to some investigative reporting. Arab/Palestinian bus companies do exists in Israel, and presumably they could do business on Saturdays in places like Tel-Aviv (where you can break Shabbat by shopping or going to a restaurant, but not by riding a bus), but they do not. Is it because it is too hard to make it profitable, or because it requires permits that are denied?

  11. Steve Grover on April 28, 2015, 1:43 pm

    Israel should call itself “Eretz Yisrael” in Hebrew and Jewland in English so everyone gets it.

  12. eljay on April 28, 2015, 1:58 pm

    || Steve Grover: Israel should call itself “Eretz Yisrael” in Hebrew and Jewland in English so everyone gets it. ||

    Unless Jewish becomes the bureaucratic nationality (no religious conversion required) of all citizens of, immigrants to and expats and refugees (e.g., the Palestinians) from Jewland – a nationality that bestows full and equal rights to all who hold it – “Jewland” is just the supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel with a different colour of lipstick.

    • Steve Grover on April 28, 2015, 4:12 pm

      I want to take away any doubt that it is a Jewish Country from the Med to the River.

      • eljay on April 29, 2015, 7:17 am

        || Steve Grover: I want to take away any doubt that it is a Jewish Country from the Med to the River. ||

        Given that Israel is an Israeli country comprised of Israelis, some of whom are Jewish and some of whom are not, you haven’t taken away any doubt.

      • Mooser on April 29, 2015, 3:05 pm

        “I want to take away any doubt that it is a Jewish Country from the Med to the River. “

        Grover has either had a frontal lobotomy or has a bottle in front of him. Listen to the alter kocker, the macher.

        Dry out, Grover.

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