The Press and Politics in Israel: The Jerusalem Post from 1932 to the Present

By Erwin Frenkel | Go to book overview

6
Reporting Mr. Begin

THE FLOW OF THE NILE

Anwar Sadat's decision to make peace and his visit to Jerusalem to persuade Israelis that he meant it was a major historic surprise for the nation. But it was not the first. The wars of 1967 and 1973 were military examples, and Begin's election victory was a domestic example. Despite the elaborate modern networks of intelligence, analysis, and communication, informed anticipation seemed to be but a house of cards.

Later, the chief of Israel's military intelligence would admit that Sadat had surprised the country's sentinels with his peace initiative, just as he had surprised them four years earlier with war. Since the military intelligence branch was responsible for the nation's overall national security estimates, this admission was more than academic.

It was intent that mattered. In October 1973, Israel had seen Sadat's military preparations but was led to conclude that they reflected an annual drill, not an intent to attack. So, in 1977, Israel had seen Sadat's diplomatic preparations but had assumed they were designed to pry the remainder of Sinai from Israel's control with U.S. help and without Egyptian recognition of the Jewish State.

In fact, Israel's army was still so wary of being embarrassed once again by the wily Egyptian president that on the eve of his visit to Jerusalem, the chief of staff, covering his flanks, stunned everyone by warning publicly that it could be a trick.

Thus, beyond the rhetoric, the fanfare, and the emotion of the Egyptian leader on Israeli soil appealing for an end to war, there had been a deep substratum of doubt. It was precisely this doubt that Sadat sought to assuage by the symbolic impact of coming to Jerusalem. With the help of media display, he succeeded.

The sensational nature of the visible events put the press and public opinion far ahead of the actual diplomatic proceedings. Just a few weeks before, most

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The Press and Politics in Israel: The Jerusalem Post from 1932 to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Prelude xiii
  • 1- Beginnings 1
  • 2- News and Other Party Games 17
  • 3- Family Feuds Before The Six-Day War 33
  • 4- A New Israel and a New Press 59
  • 5- Uncaging a Newspaper 87
  • 6- Reporting Mr. Begin 97
  • 7- Unity Without Consent 121
  • 8- The Intifada and the Press 137
  • 9- Conglomerate Conquest 151
  • Notes 177
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 183
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