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The Israeli Public Was Manipulated: Israel's Gov—and Media—Knew Kidnap Victims Were Dead — But 'Kept Alive' to Legitimize Operations in the West Bank

Israeli kidnap victims


Details under gag order suggested early on that the abducted teens were murdered. Yet the Israeli public was told the teens were being held by Hamas, and a public campaign calling for their return was launched which helped the legitimacy of Israel’s military operation in the West Bank. Local and even international media played along.


How the public was manipulated into believing the teens were alive


By Noam Sheizaf
The following issue is not the heart of the kidnapping affair, the Israeli military operation or its aftermath — but it does carry an important lesson, especially for journalists. The bottom line is this: the Israeli public has been manipulated.

Details of the ’100′ call (the local equivalent of 911) and what investigators discovered in the car used for the kidnapping of three Israeli teens earlier this month were well known by security service heads, top ministers — and even journalists — early on in the affair; but not by the public because it was all placed and kept under a tightly held gag order. The blood found in the car, the sound of gun shots in the emergency call, evidence of live ammunition and the fact that there hasn’t been a single instance of two or more people being held hostage in the West Bank in decades – all that led to a single logical assumption: the teens were no longer alive. Yet at the same time, the Israeli public was told the teens were being held by Hamas, and a public campaign calling for their return was launched.

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