It seems like every time we see Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith in the news, it’s the same story – they’ve broken up with another guy or they’ve gotten in a drunken brawl. The stories repeat themselves across the media and every time, we shake our heads and move on with our own lives.
Say hello to Israel’s problem. Any time we see the country in the news, the story recounts the latest deaths in the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. It’s the same stuff – who’s taking or deflecting the blame for the fight, who’s calling who what, and what it all means to the peace process.
But the Arab-Israeli conflict is just a single facet of one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Israel, like celebrities, does so much more than what the mainstream news reports. Did you know that Israel has committed to airlifting 20,000 impoverished Ethiopian Jews into its borders? Not only that, but each Ethiopian will be granted automatic Israeli citizenship and will be given food, housing, Hebrew classes, health services, vocational training and more.
Israeli Jews are among the few groups in the world taking action to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan too. The Sudanese government has murdered over 400,000 of its own people in less than three years – an event that has affected 3.4 million people in the region and left half of those homeless.
Israel has not only committed financial aid to ease the situation in Sudan, but Israeli Jews and Jews from around the world are working to provide emergency relief and support water resources, sanitation facilities, food centers and health care to those affected, according to the American Jewish World Service.
Unfortunately, to find some of these newsworthy events, you have to go beyond the front page of the daily paper. We learned about it along with 4,000 other Jews from across the world last weekend at a conference in Canada sponsored by the United Jewish Communities and the University Student Division of Hagshama, which facilitates Israel programming.
But you shouldn’t have to travel all the way to Toronto and attend a huge conference to figure this stuff out. Many of the “news” articles in today’s papers just keep digging at the same story and still only scratch the surface. Still other newsworthy articles never even find their way into newspapers or are shoved into tiny blurb boxes on page 15.
For example, we all know Ethiopia is a very poor country, ravaged by disease and food shortages. But it wasn’t until reading “The Economist” magazine that we saw that Ethiopian security forces shot and killed 46 unarmed people last week and arrested thousands more who were protesting against corrupted elections.
Israel may have faltered in multiple political moves since it became a state in 1948, but airlifting thousands of Ethiopians from a country burdened with poverty and corruption is a proud move to make. Israel is also determined not to let them fall into second-class citizenry like African immigrants in many other countries and has even launched a television ad campaign to prove it. Again, this was never highlighted much if at all in mainstream news.
It’s funny, no one ever talks about how Anna Nicole Smith encouraged Canadians earlier this year to pressure Prime Minister Paul Martin to outlaw the country’s “bloody seal slaughter.” But man, did you see how much weight she lost with Trimspa?
Emily Rancer is a journalism junior and Mustang Daily copy editor. Daniella Orihuela-Gruber is a journalism freshman