Sunday, March 19, 2006
The black hats and beard syndrome
Has anyone noticed that whenever there is a photo of Israeli society, or a clip on the news showing Israelis going about their daily routine there is almost always a black hat and a beard on the men. People who have never been to Israel might believe that the majority of people in Israel are black hatted and bearded. This obviously isn't true.
Linda Grant came to Israel to write a book called 'The People on the Street: A Writer's View of Israel'. She writes a good article in The Guardian about how most journalists are guilty of showing Israel through the prism of Jerusalem and are keen to show only a certain representation of Israel.
Grant writes that in her book "I lamented the habit of foreign correspondents of heading straight from the airport to Jerusalem......It struck me that one has as much chance of comprehending what is going to be the outcome of this election by illustrating it with pictures of bearded black-hatted Jerusalemites, as one would understand the riots in the French banlieu with photographs of men with berets and baguettes under their arm, cycling past the Eiffel Tower."
Israel is trying to change these images of Israel, especially for tourism purposes.
It is a good thing to look out for next time. See how regular Israelis are portrayed on TV and in the papers and online.