CiF Watch prompts another UK media correction to ‘fired’ Arab workers claim

As we noted in a post yesterday, CiF Watch recently prompted a correction to a Dec. 1st Times of London article (Israel poised to vote on law for ‘Jewish state’) which alleged that the mayor of the Israeli city of Ashkelon barred Palestinian construction workers from city schools.  We demonstrated that Mayor Shimshoni, per multiple press reports over the last week, at first did announced his intention to prevent Arab workers from working at city kindergartens, but later rescinded his order following criticism from across the Israeli political spectrum.

Shortly after that post, editors at The Independent also agreed – after communication with our office – to amend their misleading report on the actions of the Ashkelon Mayor.

The original Indy article, published on Nov. 25th, included the following passage:

After a deadly assault that killed five last week at a Jerusalem synagogue, the mayor of the coastal city of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, suspended 30 Israeli Arab municipality workers, citing “security” reasons. He was widely condemned.

 Following the revision, it now accurately reflects the fact that the initial decision to fire Arab workers was rescinded. 

After a deadly assault that killed five last week at a Jerusalem synagogue, the mayor of the coastal city of Ashkelon, Itamar Shimoni, suspended 30 Israeli Arab municipality workers, citing “security” reasons. He was widely condemned and subsequently reversed his decision.

This is not a small correction.  

It was the widespread public criticism over the initial racist decision by Mayor Itamar Shimshoni to fire Arabs – for no reason other than the fact that they are Arab – which prompted his eventual reversal.  

The errors in both the Indy and Times of London represent an apt illustration of how the media – in their rush to weave in the desired narrative of ‘racist Israel’ – fails to report on the vitality of the nation’s democracy, and the fact that the broad Israeli centre (despite amplified, marginal voices on either extreme) continues to hold.  

We commend Indy editors on their decision to revise the misleading passage.

5 replies »

  1. “it now accurately reflects…”
    Does it?

    “לדברי שמעוני ההחלטה התקבלה בשיתוף פעולה עם משטרת אשקלון ותורם שהסכים לממן את עלות האבטחה בגנים.
    בהודעה שפרסם בדף הפייסבוק שלו כתב ראש העיר: “אף שהאחריות להצבת מאבטחים הינה של המשרד לביטחון פנים, הנחתי להציב החל ממחר בבוקר מאבטחים חמושים בכל אשכול גנים (כ-40 גנים) הסמוכים לאתרי בנייה שבהם מועסקים פועלים ערבים. כמו כן בגנים שבהם מבוצעות עבודות להכנת ממ”דים על ידי פועלים ערבים יופסקו העבודות עד להודעה חדשה”.,7340,L-4593971,00.html

    Let’s recap, according to Shimoni’s original message he instructed to place armed security in kinder gardens (40 in total) that are near by building sites in which Arab employees are being hired (including Israeli Arabs), and further more he instructed to halt all work on security rooms in kinder garden where the work is being carried out by Arab workers until further notice.
    He admitted this is not his role to place the security rooms but the role of the defence ministry.

    So he didn’t instruct to suspend 30, 31 or 300 Israeli Arab workers but to suspend the project in which Israeli Arab workers are being involved, paying the extra money for security through an annonimous donor.

    The response to this is here:
    from the below link:
    Arab employees working to fortify kindergartens in Ashkelon will return to their construction projects while the children attending those classes would stay at nearby community centers, according to a weekend decision by the city’s mayor, Itamar Shimoni.
    Last week, Shimoni drew condemnations from across the aisle when he decided to limit employment of Arabs in the city.
    The chain of events began with a request from the parents of children who attend three local kindergartens, who complained that Arab workers were constructing shelters in education centers.
    Shimoni decided to halt the construction projects in light of the mounting tensions across the country, but did not manage to square the need for building the shelter – without the Arab employees.
    An inquiry by Home Front Command discovered that the aforementioned kindergartens had only a week of construction work remaining. According to a municipal proposal, to be presented to parents Sunday evening, their children will spend that period in nearby community centers.
    “The proposal maintains our daily routine while completing construction of the sheltered spaces,” said Shimoni. “I examined the option of fortification work beginning at 4 pm, when the children returned home, but the employees cannot work in the dark.”
    “Unfortunately, my decisions were taken out of proportion. I was simply listening to the parents of the mentioned kindergartens. At no point did I order the expulsion of Arabs from Ashkelon.”,7340,L-4595077,00.html

    So the correction is very much misleading.
    However much I disagree with Shimoni’s move I, unlike the Indy’s editor, would highlight the growing tensions between Jews, Druze and Arabs during the last month and the neumerous deadly assaults by Arab employees on Israeli civilians including the bombardment of kinder gardens in Jerusalem and the murder of an infant.
    By pointing these facts it is not surprising that several parents would like to see their kids as far away as possible from potential killers, and of course away from a building site.

    Far worse comments are being made daily by EU ministers and mayors about minorities for political gain and sheer racism while their country is not a de facto under attack from within yet they receive far less publicity in the EU and Britiish press.

    The Indy should have commended the Israeli public and representatives for backing up its minorities against a misguided decision by an elect mayor.

    Instead they focus on attacking the mayor with little attention to the reason behind the gowing tensions or with little support for the democratic system that back fired at him to protect itself against such discriminating actions.