NPR Airs Correction in Response to CAMERA Alert About Suicide Bombing

CAMERA Alert Spurs NPR Correction

June 5, 2001 – In response to the CAMERA Alert below, NPR this afternoon aired the following correction:

NOAH ADAMS: We have a correction to a report NPR broadcast on Weekend All Things Considered this past Sunday. NPR incorrectly reported that a religious burial society in Israel had denied space in Jewish cemeteries to three of the bombing victims in last week’s terror attack. In fact, no such ruling was made. The three were buried over the weekend and we regret the error. (All Things Considered, June 5, 2001)

Thanks to the many readers who contacted NPR. We hope this marks a change at the network, and that when informed of errors NPR will now air swift and forthright corrections. Feel free to contact NPR to thank them for airing the correction.


After Latest Suicide Bombing, NPR’s Ludden Gets it Wrong Again

June 3, 2001

NPR’s Israel correspondent Jennifer Ludden incorrectly reported on All Things Considered (June 3, 2001) that some victims in the Tel Aviv suicide bombing were barred from burial in public cemeteries because they were not Jewish under Israeli law:

LUDDEN: Sixteen year old Mariana Madbaneko and her family had come from far eastern Russia just two-and-half years ago. Mourners gathered at Kibbutz Givat Brenner, in the center of the country. Mariana lived in Tel Aviv, but like several victims, she is not considered Jewish under Israeli law because her mother is Christian. In a widely criticized move, the country’s religious burial society denied three victims graves in public cemeteries. The kibbutz offered space on its grounds.

In fact, contrary to Ludden’s report, no such determination had been made by the hevra kadisha (burial society), and the victims were not barred from burial in a public cemetery. Ludden carelessly repeated false assertions by an Israeli politician, who assumed that the victims would be barred. By Saturday evening, well before Ludden’s report, it was well known in Israel that these assertions were false. (See the Haaretz article excerpted below.)

Whether intentionally or not, Ludden made it seem like the grief for all the victims felt by people across the world was somehow not shared by certain official authorities in Israel.

Contact NPR and let them know that they lose credibility when their reporters neglect to check facts, and when the network refuses to broadcast corrections. Challenge them to correct Ludden’s careless and false assertion. Please bcc a copy of your letter to [email protected]

Haaretz (excerpts) June 4, 2001

Hevra kadisha never refused to bury three terror victims

By Shahar Ilan

The hevra kadisha (burial society) in Tel Aviv never refused to bury three victims of Friday’s suicide bomb attack because they were born of mixed marriages (a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother). Contrary to reports on the burial issue that were widely circulated all day Saturday, every possible official in the religious establishment made it clear on Saturday night that appropriate solutions would be found for burying the victims.

Israel’s Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Meir Lau, who strenuously denied the reports Saturday night, ordered the hevra kadisha’s rabbi to ask the families where they wanted to bury their children and to carry out the parents’ wishes. Religious Affairs Minister Asher Ohana (Shas) issued a similar order to the hevra kadisha.

The hevra kadisha in Tel Aviv was having a hard time understanding how they could have issued a refusal to bury someone, during the Sabbath. “No one approached us and, anyway, we couldn’t have refused,” said the society’s director, Yehoshua Yishai, on Saturday night.

The hevra kadisha has a special section in Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul cemetery for people whose Jewishness is uncertain.

It was Labor MK Sofa Landver who told the media on Saturday that the hevra kadisha was refusing to bury the three. Because the information was broadcast on Shabbat, the hevra kadisha was not aware of the reports and could not respond to them.

Landver sounded somewhat chastened yesterday morning, telling Israel Radio that based on past experience, she assumed there would be a burial problem and simply went ahead with plans to try and help the families.

Landver says she first heard the claims from Tel Aviv municipality social workers. Based on the assumption that the hevra kadisha would not be prepared to bury the three girls, Landver organized for them to be buried at Kibbutz Givat Brenner.

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