On Jan. 17, 2016, Morad Bader Abdullah Adais, a 16-year-old Palestinian, murdered Dafna Meir in her home, located in the West Bank settlement of Otniel. Meir, a 40-year-old mother of four, foster mother of two and nurse in the neurosurgery ward at Beersheva’s Soroka Hospital, fought the terrorist at her front door, trying to protect if not herself then some of her children who were at home (“Days before murder of Otneil mother of six: ‘Sometimes it feels like Russian Roulette,’” Jerusalem Post, Jan. 18).
Stabbed repeatedly, she died in front of her teenaged daughter, whose screams may have frightened the killer. Unable to remove his knife from Meir’s body, he fled.
Leading American newspapers including The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times downplayed or ignored the fatal attack, which stands out from the last four months of Palestinian violence against Israelis given that the target was a woman in her own home, murdered with the especially personal method of stabbing, with some of her children at the scene.
The Los Angeles Times
According to Lexis-Nexis, The Los Angeles Times print edition has not run a single article or brief about the killing of Meir, or any news item at all on Palestinian-Israeli developments since Sunday, the day Meir was murdered. Nor, as of this writing, do searches on the media outlet’s Web site turn up any mention of Meir’s murder.
The New York Times
In the Jan. 18 print edition, the day following Meir’s murder, The New York Times buried the attack in the 18th paragraph of a story about Iran (“Netanyahu Asserts That Israel Will Not Take Its Eyes Off Iran”).
Remarkably, the Jan. 18 international print edition of The New York Times did not include a single word about the Otniel killing. It ran a shortened version of the Iran story, cutting out all mention of Meir’s murder, which took place approximately 5 p.m. in Israel, plenty of time before the international edition went to press.
While editors of the international edition deemed the murder of Dafna Meir not worthy of inclusion in the print edition, they did however publish a three-paragraph brief (at left) about anti-Christian graffiti found in a Jerusalem church (“Anti-Christian slogans found at Benedictine monastery”). It is hard to understand by what standard of journalism scribbled slogans in a famous Jerusalem church degrading Jesus and cursing “go to hell,” however offensive and disturbing, is more newsworthy than the brutal killing of an Israeli woman in her home. Today’s international print edition of The New York Times also does not contain one word about Meir’s killing or an additional non-fatal stabbing of another Israeli woman yesterday, not even one news brief the size of yesterday’s item on graffiti.
The New York Times’ Web site faired slightly better than the print edition in its coverage. The Iran story, including the deeply buried information on the Otniel attack, was online the day of the attack. In addition, the Web site ran an Associated Press article (“Israeli Army: Palestinian Kills Israeli Woman in West Bank“), which was not easily found when a researcher searched The Times site for news of the attack.
Also, the following day, on Jan. 18, when Michal Froman, a second Israeli woman, was wounded in another stabbing attack in the West Bank, The New York Times covered that incident with an online article by Isabel Kershner which also mentioned Meir’s murder the previous day.
The article, both in print today and online yesterday, was accompanied by an extremely misleading headline: (“Israeli Woman Stabbed Amid West Bank Exchanges of Violence”). What “exchanges” of violence? As the article itself describes, Palestinians stabbed two woman, one in her home, one in a store, killing one, in two days. All the violence flowed in one direction: Palestinians attacked Israelis. By falsely pointing to an “exchange” of violence, The New York Times once again falsely depicts Palestinians as victims and downplays their responsibility for violence.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post published an Associated Press account of the attack, and initial Israeli search for the murderer, online the same day. But its Jan. 18 print edition was another ma
Featured lead in “The World” section pages, covering all six columns of the top half and more of page A-6 was “Israel steps up demolitions to punish attackers.” The article, by Post Jerusalem bureau reporter Ruth Eglash, did not mention Meir’s murder. But illustrating it was a four-column color photograph of Arab parents walking through the rubble of their home, “demolished by Israeli troops” after their son, “Israeli security forces said … had carried out attacks against Israelis. …”
The Meir killing did not rate inclusion among the six items in the “Digest” column at the bottom of the page, among them “France: Man dies after taking part in medical trial.”
The Post published another AP dispatch, 10 paragraphs on a Jan. 18 terrorist stabbing in Tekoa of Froman, 30 and pregnant, on its Web site (“Palestinian attacker stabs Israeli woman in West Bank”). She is the daughter-in-law of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, known as “an advocate of peaceful coexistence.”
One paragraph mentioned the Meir killing the day before. Post editors illustrated the Tekoa item with a picture from Meir’s funeral.
But, in the Jan. 18 print edition, the lengthy 26-paragraph article, “Israel steps up demolitions to punish attackers,” received prominent placement on page A-6.
The Web site also yesterday carried an article by The Post‘s William Booth and Ruth Eglash on the attacks both on Meir and Froman (“Attacks by Palestinians reach inside settlements”). It appears in print as well today, 19 paragraphs on page A-8. Thus, two days after the incident, the print edition covered Meir’s murder, though not quite as prominently as it covered the demolitions of Palestinian terrorists’ one day earlier.
The Post’s “Attacks by Palestinians reach inside settlements; As mother of six is mourned, Israeli troops conduct manhunt” did highlight the Otniel murder and mention the Tekoa assault. Placed as the second lead story on the first “The World” section page, the article concluded by telling readers, “In four months of violence, Palestinian attackers have killed 25 Israelis using knives, guns and cars. Israelis have killed almost 100 Palestinian during attacks; 50 more have been killed in violent clashes as Israel deploys increasingly lethal countermeasures.”
This report’s major shortcoming? It was a day late. It belonged where “Israel steps up demolitions to punish attackers,” a story about “at least seven Palestinian homes” demolished since October, appeared.