CiF Watch prompts correction to Robert Fisk’s gross under count of Arab Israelis

Among the myriad of errors in Robert Fisk’s April 25th report in The Independent we noted in a recent post was the following extraordinary under count of Arab Israelis:


Leaving his bizarre use of the word “deleting” aside, Fisk was so far off in is count of Arab Israelis one wonders if he was working without the use of an internet search engine while ‘fact checking’ his work.  

As we pointed out in an email to Indy editors, there are over 1.6 million Arab Israelis (not “tens of thousands“), based on statistics published by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics.  Shortly after our correspondence, the passage was corrected.

Here’s the updated text:


Though you have to scratch your head in wonder when contemplating how an “award winning” reporter with decades of experience covering the region could get such a frequently reported element of Israeli demography so wildly wrong, we nonetheless commend Indy editors on their decision to revise Fisk’s erroneous figure.


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What does the mother of a ‘pre-Oslo’ monster look like?

The following is a photo published at The Independent on July 29th to illustrate a story about Israel’s recent decision to release 104 Palestinians prisoners – a group of Palestinians (convicted prior to the Oslo Accords) largely consisting of terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder Israeli citizens, soldiers and foreign tourists.

part 1

Here’s the Indy caption for the shot taken by Reuters photographer Ibraheem Abu Mustaf:

The mother of Palestinian Ateya Abu Moussa, who has been held prisoner by Israel for 20 years, hugs her grandson upon hearing the news that her son may soon be released.

The mother is rejoicing over the possible release of her son, a Palestinian (presumably seen in the photo she’s holding) alternately known as Abu Moussa Salam Ali Atiya who murdered an Israeli named Isaac Rotenberg in 1994.  Whilst the Indy caption doesn’t include a word about the crimes of Ateya Abu Moussa or background on his victim, fortunately Almagor Murder Victims Association provides further details:

Isaac was born to Natan and Miriam Rotenberg on 15 March 1927 in Poland. A selection was held in his city following the outbreak of the Second World War, and his family was sent to the Sobibór extermination camp. With the exception of him, his younger brother, and his sister, his entire family perished. He was taken with his brother to a labor camp. When a revolt broke out, the two succeeded in escaping the camp, but they lost track of each other in the ensuing commotion. Isaac then made his way to the forest and joined the partisans.

In April 1947, Isaac reached the Land of Israel. He joined the IDF the next year, and fought in the War of Liberation in the north, near Kibbutz Manara.

Isaac was married to Riva, and the two had two children, Tzipora and Pinhas. He worked as a plasterer, and was a founder of the city of Holon. Upon reaching retirement age, he decided to continue working a few hours per day to keep himself busy.

On 29 March 1994, during the Passover holiday, as Isaac was hunched on his knees, fixing a floor in his workplace in Petah Tikva, two of the Arab laborers [including Ateya Abu Moussa], on site attacked him and struck the back of his neck with axes. He was critically wounded, and entered a coma. Two days later, on 31 March, he died.

The murderers were caught staying in Lod with their Israeli Arab accomplices, and were sentenced to life in prison.

Isaac was 67 at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, son, brother, and sister.

Ateya Abu Moussa murdered Rotenberg as a condition of being accepted into a terrorist organization.

Isaac Rotenberg survived a Nazi extermination camp but was murdered by a (soon to be free) loathsome terrorist spawned by the woman ‘sensitively’ depicted in a photo carefully selected by Indy editors. 


Isaac (Azik) Rotenberg: Date unknown

What the Guardian won’t report: Happy and successful Arab citizens of Israel

H/T Elder of Ziyon

While polls indicating that Israelis are among the happiest citizens in the world are not surprising (they came in 7th in a 2011 global happiness index survey, with 63% of respondents saying were happy with their lives), a recent polls indicating that Israeli Arabs are largely content, successful and patriotic is perhaps a bit more counter-intuitive.  

Yet, According to a recent poll (“Democracy Index 2011“) on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, 52.8% of Arab citizens answered yes to the question of whether they are proud to be Israelis, while only 28.3% of respondents said they were “not at all proud”. Additionally, the same poll demonstrated that 45% of Arab citizens of Israel agreed that it is “important or very important” to strengthen the military might of Israel, while the  percentage that responded that it “wasn’t important” to them was only 29%.


Israeli border patrol officers protect Arab citizens during rocket attack on Nov. 17

Additionally, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, an Education Ministry summary of 2011 test scores showed that Israeli students (from all sectors of society) registered their highest scores on international tests since they started being recorded in the 1990s.  In math, for instance, Israelis are now ranked 7th in the world based on test scores.

The report concluded that Israel’s Arabs, while lagging behind their Hebrew-speaking counterparts, also scored higher than in previous years in mathematics, sciences and reading comprehension.

However, even more interesting is how well Israeli Arabs performed in math, reading, and science compared to their counterparts in Arab countries.

Elder of Ziyon wrote the following:

In reading, fourth grade Israeli Arabs scored 479 (vs. 568 for Hebrew-speakers.) But no Arab country scored higher – UAE 439, Saudi Arabia 430, Qatar 425, Oman 391.

In science, eighth grade Israeli Arabs scored 481 (520 for Hebrew speakers.) Compare to UAE 465, Bahrain 452, Jordan 449, Morocco 376 – and the PA with 420.

In math, eighth grade Israeli Arabs scored 465 (vs. 536 for Hebrew speakers.) Compare that to UAE 456, Lebanon 449, Morocco 391, Oman 366 – and the PA with 404.

Additionally, I’ve previously citedpoll indicating that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians living in eastern Jerusalem (citizens or permanent residents) not only don’t want to divide Jerusalem as part of any future peace agreement, but, when asked if they would consider moving to a city in the new Palestinian state if their Jerusalem neighborhood became part of Israel, 54% said they wouldn’t move, with only 27% expressing their desire to move.

Such polls on Arab happiness and their relative academic success generally wouldn’t come as too big of a surprise to Israelis who work, socialize and otherwise come into daily contact with their fellow Israeli citizens.  

However, you can be assured that such reports would likely never find their way into the Guardian.


Jews and Arabs at the Dead Sea

Jews and Arabs at the Dead Sea