Tensions rise in the Middle East

The headline in Israel’s national newspaper Haaretz reads “Israeli Defense Force reports ‘direct hit’ on Syria target, after errant shell.” This marks the first time since the Yom Kippur War in 1973 that Israel sent a warning shot into Syria.

Israel is responding to a wayward mortal shell fired by Syria, which landed in an Israeli town in the Golan Heights region. Currently Syria is in the middle of a civil war, and claims that these shots fired into Israel were never meant to cross the border.

While Israel and Syria share a border, the countries have high tensions towards each other.  Israel constantly has troops patrolling the extensive Syrian border, which is in northern Israel. The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated that Israel would respond if stray Syrian artillery continues striking Golan Heights, the area of Israel that shares a border with Syria. Barak’s statement turned the spotlight back to the Middle East; many in the international community are worried that the civil war in Syria could ignite a wider regional conflict.

As I will be studying in Israel in two months away, this situation worries me. The last way I want to spend my semester is in Israel during a war with Syria. As a public relations student, I am aware that sometimes the ideas and stories in the media change depending on who is reporting. Since I am reading about this attack in the Israeli newspaper, the reporting is going to paint a different picture than if I read the story in Syria’s newspaper, or even the New York Times.

To test this theory I read the story written for the New York Times. Of course while this story made the front page in Haaretz, it appeared in A4 in the New York Times. This just highlights what constitutes news in each country. Of course this story would be more pertinent to Israeli’s than to Americans. But beyond that, not to critique writing, the story in the New York Times tells a stronger story and makes me want to learn more. The NYT uses personal examples of a families affected by the attacks to gain readers attention.

It is possible that the NYT writes the story like this to gain the reader’s attention, because Israelis reading Haaretz will automatically have extreme interest in the situation and already have background knowledge.

Either way, as I prepare to go to Israel next semester I can only remain aware and hope for peace in the Middle East.




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