The media newsroom is fickle. It doesn’t even pretend to be thoughtful. It is fixated on graphics. On The first two days the graphics were dramatically ‘pro-Israel’ – butchered and mutilated Jewish bodies. But then the graphics were more dramatic in Gaza ‘pro-‘Palestinian’ – destruction, homelessness and deaths. The media newsroom was merely being pragmatic and following the business model – whatever sells. Media is a profit-making machine. Higher ratings mean higher advertising investment. Nothing to do with merit, morality or ethics.
So why do we become upset by media coverage of Hamas-inspired protests (attended by the tiniest proportion of the population), or Jordan’s Queen Rania’s interview with a sympathetic Christiane Amanpour? And why do we criticise the media’s extensive weeklong coverage of Gaza’s death toll and homelessness, the result of Israeli bombings? The media is only doing its job – making money! It doesn’t even pretend to be ‘even handed’ or insightful. It is simply in the game of selling.
At the same time, media coverage is influential. Graphics capture the mind and heart. And the overwhelming majority of viewers are not critical thinkers – just consumers. So, we worry that the tide of opinion can, and often does, turn against us Jews, the world over. Therefore, we also compete in the news-space of the world.
But Jewish survival and longevity is inexplicable. We have survived holocausts, pogroms, economic and political deprivations, social isolation, and more – illogically, improbably, defying all odds, for no less than 3700 years. That means that there is a higher dynamic at work. One that is even superior to world media! The source of our endurance is our Senior Partner, who holds a 51% stake in the investment known as The Jewish Nation, and its spiritual homeland, the Land of Israel. But success depends on we remaining true to our end of the bargain: the 613 clauses of co-creation that the Junior Partner is obligated contractually to perform, known as Mitzvot.
You and I, doing one extra Mitzva, tip the balance of the judgment scales. Especially today, when lives are at stake – lives of our brothers and sisters, of our soldiers, of our people, the total population of Israel, who live in the ‘gunsights’ of tens of thousands of rockets from the north, south, and east, and from the sea on the west.
Tonight, when you light Shabbat candles, direct your Kavvannah to arouse insight and clarity. When you say Tehillim tomorrow, focus on our homeland. When you give Tzedaka on Sunday, direct Hessed to those in the firing line. When you put on Tefillin on Sunday and every weekday, let that act find its goal in the protection of our people everywhere.
The outcome depends as much on you and I, as it does on our generals and our weapons. It depends equally, if not more, on the spiritual power our Mitzvot to raise morale, inspire courage, and maintain conviction. Both pathways, tangible and spiritual, are needed to ward off the attacker. The strongest and best equipped army isn’t always the victor. The army that believes in itself, is committed to its mission and goals, and has faith in a positive outcome, will always triumph. Don’t let the team down. Exude faith and confidence!