Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ariel Sharon, the Israeli media and the Art of Prayer...

You hear it on the radio...

You read it in the newspapers...

You see it on TV...

Everyone is calling on the Israeli public to pray for Ariel Sharon.

With all these calls to prayer coming from the Israeli media, I began wondering whether or not these calls were genuine, or merely a form of lip service.

Israel's media is run (and staffed) predominantly with the most secular segment of Israel's (Jewish ) population. I recall hearing of a survey once, that found that approximately 70% of Israel's media personalities do not fast on Yom Kippur - even though between 70 - 80% of the Jewish population in Israel does.

As such, here are a few questions:

* When the Israeli media calls for everyone to pray for the recovery of Ariel Sharon - do they really mean it?

* If so, since the majority of these media personalities do not believe in G-d, at least not the G-d of Israel, who are they suggesting people pray to?

* And, if the majority of these Israeli media personalities do not believe in G-d, then what value does prayer, in their eyes, have in the first place?

* Are the calls by Israel's media for prayer intended to only be taken seriously by traditional Jews?


Yeah I agree. I wrote about the about face of global media concerning Ariel Sharon on Friday. Really the whole scene is amazing to me.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Sun Jan 08, 07:24:00 PM GMT+2  

Prayer they believe in.
They took the Pulsa Denura very seriously!

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Sun Jan 08, 08:13:00 PM GMT+2  

I disagree. As secular as many Israelis are, I was surprised to see how much they believe in the concepts of prayer and the like; and often, they choose to be secular not because they don't believe, but because they prefer to be secular and don't think that the mitzvos matter all that much.

And you're also right - it is a bit of lip service from the media: But it's an important one regardless.

I think they do mean it - and even those who don't think prayer works, they might think, 'why not pray anyway? Maybe we're wrong.' It's not as if taking a few seconds to think, "Hey, if You're there God, can you please save Ariel?" is such a big deal.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Sun Jan 08, 08:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Ezzie, point well made.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Jan 08, 08:28:00 PM GMT+2  

It's like the "no athiests in a foxhole." In a pinch, we all believe that there's a "Higher Being."

By Blogger Batya, at Mon Jan 09, 06:57:00 AM GMT+2  

All of the media hype and all of the talk in the blogosphere about who is or is not praying makes me very uncomfortable.

The last time I noticed, praying was between me and Hashem. How often I do or do not open a sefer Tehillim, and what I say during the "Yehi Ratzon" prayer in Shmone Esreh is private.

There are some things better left unsaid.

By Blogger westbankmama, at Mon Jan 09, 09:24:00 AM GMT+2  

Hey Ze'ev,

I wrote a follow up to this article over at my blog. You'll get a kick out of what I found.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Tue Jan 10, 12:17:00 AM GMT+2  

Secular Isrealis still mostly keep the pesach seder, circucise boys and have barmitzvah's. You don't need to believ in God to do these things. I would argue, that you don't need to belive in God to pray either. Lehipalel means "to judge oneself." A secular jew can use tfilla as a way of assesing their life and that of the country without involving hashem.

By Blogger Ittay, at Tue Jan 10, 04:42:00 AM GMT+2  

This posting was not to knock secular Israelis - even though it seems ot have been understood that way. Most Jews in Israel are traditional - meaning that even if not religious, they still believe in G-d and relate to Him in their own way, trying to stay true to jewish Tradition as best they can.

The point of this post was to focus more on the Israeli media who talks out of both sides of its mouth and manages to be patronizing and consescending in the same moment - since they are talking about something which they themselves do not beleive in.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Tue Jan 10, 09:24:00 AM GMT+2  

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