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Covering unrest from up close, journalists increasingly in the line of fire

8 32 16

Israeli journalists covering the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza and raging ethnic violence in some cities have increasingly found themselves the target of assaults and threats from angry mobs and individuals in recent days.

According to the Union of Journalists in Israel, at least 20 reporters and photographers have been assaulted and wounded since the start of riots in East Jerusalem on May 6.

Both Jewish and Arab reporters have been subjected to the rash of anti-press violence, which has included harassment and physical attacks, especially while trying to document the actions of mobs that have rampaged through mixed towns, viciously beating members of the other ethnicity and vandalizing homes, cars, businesses and other property. Police have been accused of not only failing to protect journalists but of also attacking reporters and photographers themselves and hindering them from doing their jobs.

“In recent weeks, dozens of journalists and broadcast crews have been attacked while at work,” Yair Tarchitsky, head of the Union of Journalists in Israel, said Sunday. “The epidemic of violence must stop immediately. We demand that the police perform their duties and that charges be filed against the instigators and attackers.” Israeli riot police face off with a Jewish man as clashes erupted between Arabs, police and Jews, in the mixed town of Lod, central Israel, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Heidi Levine)

At least some of the harassment has been aimed at reporters for a perceived left-wing bent or insufficient support for Israel’s war effort against Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza.

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On Tuesday, prosecutors charged two far-right rioters over an attack on a reporter and cameraman for the Kan broadcaster in Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah neighborhood who were covering a planned march by Jewish extremists on their way to attack Arab residents of nearby Jaffa.

Camera operator Rolan Novitzky required hospital treatment for injuries sustained in the May 13 assault, which was caught on video. Reporter Yoav Zehavi was also beaten.

צלם כאן 11 רולנד נוביצקי הותקף במחאה בתקווה ומצלמתו נחטפה ממנו. התוקף נעצר. סרטון קשה. pic.twitter.com/FlU0LCiO6g

— Hagar Shezaf (@HShezaf) May 13, 2021

צלם כאן 11 רולנד נוביצקי הותקף במחאה בתקווה ומצלמתו נחטפה ממנו. התוקף נעצר. סרטון קשה. pic.twitter.com/FlU0LCiO6g

— Hagar Shezaf (@HShezaf) May 13, 2021

Tarchitsky called the charges an “important first step.”

But several other documented attacks have gone unprosecuted thus far.

On May 11, Channel 13 chief legal correspondent Baruch Kara was attacked by a Jewish mob in Ramle as he broadcast live. The previous day, the channel’s anchor Ayala Hasson, cameraman Rami Sigawi and technician Kobi Shemer were attacked in Lod by a mob of Jewish extremists, and Channel 20 photographer Moshe Kadosh said his windshield had been smashed by Arab rioters, also in Lod. Medics evacuate an injured man during clashes between Arab and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (( Roni Ofer/Flash90)


© The Times of Israel

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