The “Keshev” organization has issued a complaint to the Press Council against the newspaper for deleting parts of Moshe Silman’s letter which blamed the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Treasury for his situation. The Board of Ethics of the council has decided to follow up the complaint.
By: Rabbi Idit Lev
The day after Moshe Silman chose to set himself on fire and not to live on the street,the newspaper“Israel Hayom” chose to publish the letter Moshe wrote explaining his action, but with their censorship – they deleted from the letter the direct blame assigned to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyu and Minister of the Treasury Steinitz.
The organization “Keshev” chose not to remain silent and issued a complaint to the Press Council against “Israel Hayom”
These days an answer has been received from the Press Council’s assistant legal adviser, conveyed in a letter to “Keshev,” that he does not accept the claim of “Israel Hayom” that they chose to delete the names because they could not get a response from the Prime Minister and Treasury Minister owing to the lateness of the hour.
The claim of “Israel Hayom” is very hard for me to accept. I did not sleep that night, thinking about how me living in a country where a man, who had done everything he could to obtain state assistance, ended up living on the street and so set himself on fire, and this drove sleep away. I would like to think that the prime minister and his ministers also sat up and could not fall asleep, trying to find ways to correct the situation. I would like to tell them that, after Moshe set himself on fire, someone from the Government of Israel thought it right to contact the family and to offer them condolences, but in fact no one did. Unfortunately, the reality of life in the State of Israel where people live on the street for a long time is evidence that such issues do not deprive of sleep the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Treasury, the Minister of Housing or the Minister of Welfare, who have in their hands the power to change the situation. Even today, with winter approaching, people are living on the street and there is no suitable housing solution.
Israel Hayom’s reply, according to which their article states that it is not the complete version of the letter, astounds me. If this is the case, why is a photo of the letter attached where the change cannot be seen, why not delete the names in a way that makes it clear in the photo that they were deleted?
The assistant adviser adds in his letter that he thinks that any censorship of a letter like this does wrong to the role of the press– “let alone the omission of criticism/claims against senior people who are involved in an ongoing public debate.” He announced that the Ethics Committee would meet to discuss and decide what to do about the complaint.
Thank you to “Keshev” and members of Shatil who pushed for this complaint. We need to remember that there are official bodies where one can turn with a complaint, also for the next time this needs to be done. We see here a worrying connection between the need to hide from the public the dark side of “the flourishing economy” which benefits mainly a narrow elite (and infringes on press ethics) and the economic injustice itself.
I hope that the day will come when we will be a society that takes responsibility for its weaker members, when no one will sleep in the street. I pray that in the coming winter the cries of the homeless will arise to Jerusalem and to the heavens, and we will succeed in changing the reality in which we live.
If you found this story important/shocking/touching, and you want to help us to change the situation, please donate here and strengthen the Jewish voices that see in every human being the image of God.