The Day In Israel: Monday Mar 22nd, 2010

One poll, two ways of looking at things:

Haaretz poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair and friendly

Haaretz poll: 27% of Israelis think Obama is anti-Semitic

Or is it?

Despite the fact both these reports are written by the same Ha’aretz reporter, only one of them is accompanied by an explanatory graphic. Care to guess which of them is?


Haaretz misled readers to give the impression that an overwhelming majority of Israelis see US President Barack Obama as “fair and friendly” toward the country, the newspaper’s pollster, Tel Aviv University professor Camil Fuchs (an unfortunate name for the Middle East I would think – ed), said on Sunday.

Both the English and Hebrew editions of Friday’s Haaretz led with the headline “Poll: Most Israelis see Obama as fair, friendly toward Israel.”

The English edition elaborated near a picture of Obama that “69% say Obama is fair and friendly.”

The story itself gives no numbers, but the lead says “A sweeping majority of Israelis think his treatment of this country is friendly and fair.”

The English edition contains no graphic distributing the actual numbers, either online or in print.

The print and online versions of the newspaper’s Hebrew edition included a graphic indicating that just 18 percent of respondents considered Obama “friendly” toward Israel, 3 percentage points fewer than the 21% who called the president “hostile” to the Jewish state.

Ten percent did not know, and 51% defined Obama’s approach to Israel using the Hebrew word “inyani,” which can be translated as “matter-of-fact” or “businesslike,” but not as fair.

Fuchs, who chairs Tel Aviv University’s statistics department, said he received many reactions from people around the world who were surprised by the poll’s headline. He distanced himself from the headline and criticized the way his poll was presented.

“What can I do? Only the editor writes the headlines,” Fuchs said.

“When they write the number 69 together, it is correct but misleading. They could just as easily have combined the hostile and inyani categories and gotten a different large number.”

Fuchs was disturbed to hear that the English edition did not include the full distribution of the numbers. He also disagreed with the translation of the word “inyani.”

When told it had been translated as “fair,” he responded: “I definitely would not have translated it as fair. They must have a problem with English.”

The story has been removed from Haaretz’s online print edition archive (not true; I just linked to it above – ed). An edition of the story that remains online has been rewritten with no reference to the issue in the original headline. It instead focuses on the 27% of respondents who said Obama is anti-Semitic.

A Likud source called the original Haaretz headline a “trick intended to convince the public to like Obama more and Netanyahu less.”

Polls taken over the past week by the Geocartographic Institute for Channel 2’s Meet the Press program and by the Dahaf Institute for Yediot Aharonot found that a majority of the Israeli public blamed the American administration for the crisis in US-Israel relations.

Other polls sponsored by The Jerusalem Post and the Hebrew University’s Truman Institute have found that Israelis see Obama as significantly more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel.

Haaretz English Edition editor Charlotte Halle responded that “Haaretz published a fair and accurate representation of the survey conducted by Prof. Camil Fuchs at the request of Haaretz. Any attempt to claim otherwise by another newspaper is false.”

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)?

11:00PM: “Fabulous British Colonel” Richard Kemp addresses the AIPAC conference.

10:22PM: Israeli President Shimon Peres has met with the fiance of Neda Soltan, the Iranian woman shot dead during protests in Tehran, who is visiting Israel.

“I came to Israel as an ambassador of the Iranian people, as a messenger from the camp of peace,” said Caspian Makin.

Soltan was killed during the riots that erupted following the announcement of a landslide victory for incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran’s presidential election in June 2009.

Her death, caught on videotape and beamed around the world, became a symbol and rallying cry for pro-reformist demonstrators.

“Neda was a progressive person, a freedom fighter, and these traits flowed through her veins,” Makin told Peres. “Her brave and firm protest brought unity to the Iranian people’s struggle and I hope that her actions will lead to change in the future.”

Peres wished the Iranian people a happy Persian New Year and spoke of the historical connection between Israel and Iran.

“The uprising of many Iranians restored the honor typical to this Iranian culture,” he said. “More than an economic or military struggle, I see this struggle as a moral fight; and Neda was a brave soldier in that struggle.”

9:12PM: An IDF soldier has been killed by friendly fire.

An IDF solider was killed on Monday evening by friendly fire on the border with the Gaza Strip, the army has confirmed.

According to an army spokesman, the IDF received a report of three Palestinians who had crossed the border fence between Re’im and Kissufim. IDF forces, including a tank unit, were summoned to the scene.

Three soldiers descended from the tank and approached the fence by foot due to a regulation forbidding them from firing shells in the area for fear of hitting civilians.

At the same time, a jeep of Golani soldiers arrived. Believing the tank troops to be terrorists, the Golani soldiers opened fire on them.

One soldiers was killed before the Golani soldiers realized their error and ceased fire.

8:54PM: Photo of the Day:


George Mitchell: I can’t believe I’m stuck with this idiot!

5:40PM: Hillary Clinton speaking at the AIPAC conference.

4:35PM: Ma’an reports:

The Palestinian Authority announced that Summer Time will begin at midnight on Thursday, as decided during a meeting of the government cabinet.

At midnight on 26 March, clocks in the West Bank will be set one hour forward, corresponding to the time change schedule announced by Israel last week.

The event marked the first time since daylight savings time was adopted in the region that the governments of Israel and Palestine mandated the time change on the same day.

I can’t help but be reminded about this classic Darwin Awards winner.

In most parts of the world, the switch away from Daylight Saving Time proceeds smoothly. But the time change raised havoc with Palestinian terrorists this year.

Israel insisted on a premature switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time to accommodate a week of pre-sunrise prayers. Palestinians refused to live on “Zionist Time.” Two weeks of scheduling havoc ensued. Nobody knew the “correct” time.

At precisely 5:30pm on Sunday, two coordinated car bombs exploded in different cities, killing three terrorists who were transporting the bombs. It was initially believed that the devices had been detonated prematurely by klutzy amateurs. A closer look revealed the truth behind the explosions.

The bombs had been prepared in a Palestine-controlled area, and set to detonate on Daylight Saving Time. But the confused drivers had already switched to Standard Time. When they picked up the bombs, they neglected to ask whose watch was used to set the timing mechanism. As a result, the cars were still en-route when the explosives detonated, delivering the terrorists to their untimely demises.

4:10PM: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told AIPAC that settlement activity undermines the US roles in the peace process.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinians should be serious and substantive, warning that new Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank were jeopardizing progress and undermining U.S. mediation.

“New construction in East Jerusalem or the West Bank undermines mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step toward the full negotiations that both sides want and need,” Clinton said in a speech to AIPAC, an influential pro-Israel lobby group, at its annual conference in Washington.

“It exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region could hope to exploit. And it undermines America’s unique ability to play a role – an essential role, I might add – in the peace process,” she said.

I think Hillary’s hair undermines US involvement in the peace process way more than some houses.

4:00PM: Oops, I see I accidentally disabled commenting for this post. My bad. You can now comment to your little hearts’ desire.

3:56PM: The following has made the front page of Digg:

As reader Daniel notes:

This non-news has made the front page of Digg and any pro-Israeli comments are MASSIVELY dugg down.

It does seem to be organized…

Indeed it does. If any of you have Digg accounts, you know what you have to do.

9:05AM: Joke of the day [warning: do not read while drinking coffee]

9:04AM: Here’s an Israeli organ-related story not involving a pack of lies.

Doctors at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva earlier this month performed the country’s first kidney transplant involving a donor and recipient with different blood types – a breakthrough that could increase kidney transplants involving live donors by 40 percent.

The kidney recipient was Ortal Mahlev, 18. The Herzliya resident, who has type B blood, received the kidney from her father, 51-year-old Shlomo Mahlev, who has type A blood.

“Blood type indicators are antibodies found on red blood cells and on the internal lining of blood vessels, and they attack a foreign blood type that enters the body,” said Dr. Alexander Yusim, who heads the Renal Transplantation Unit and Nephrology Institute at Beilinson.

Yusim’s team of doctors carried out the transplant by neutralizing the antibodies, he said.

The method for neutralizing the antibodies takes at least two weeks, making it impossible to use for patients who need a new kidney immediately.

The procedure is based on technology developed a decade ago in Japan, where organs are rarely transplanted from dead bodies due to restrictions of the ancient Japanese Shinto religion. Western doctors, particularly in the United States, Germany and Sweden, subsequently began using the method.

Nearly 700 Israelis are awaiting a kidney transplant, but medical officials believe 40 percent of those suffering from kidney failure have so far been unable to receive the organ from their relatives due to differing blood types.

Last year 83 kidneys were transplanted from dead donors and 69 from live donors.

The transplant process involves several stages, said Yusim.

“First the recipient’s blood is transferred into a machine that executes a blood plasma fractionation, a method whereby blood is broken up into red blood cells that are later re-inserted into the body and the blood serum which contains the antibodies that are removed from the body,” he said. “The serum is then replaced by a protein with water solubility (albumin). The body is then injected with gamma globulin in order to prevent the antibodies from acting.”

In the next stage, the patient is injected with a chemical preparation known as rituximab, which neutralizes B white blood cells that manufacture new antibodies. Doctors can implant the organ from a donor with a different blood type after the process is repeated three or four times and the number of antibodies falls to zero or nearly zero.

What’s the bet this one won’t make the front page of a Swedish tabloid?

6:00AM: A must see video.


Want to learn how to shoot with top Israeli anti-terror experts? Click here for more details.



David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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