Anat First &
Changes in the political, social, and media environment and their
impact on the coverage of conflict: The case of the Arab citizens in Israel
The present paper
examines the ways in which the Arab citizens of Israel are portrayed in
the Hebrew media, with particular attention to the coverage of two violent
incidents in national newspapers: the events surrounding the first Land
Day (3/30/76) and the events of October 2000, which took place during
the first two weeks of the Al-Aksa Intifadeh. Our purpose is twofold:
1) to examine the ways in which Israeli Arabs are portrayed in times of
violent conflict that lead Jewish citizens to perceive them as threatening,
and 2) to examine the means of presentation in terms of a time frame,
in accordance with the view that the presentation process is dynamic,
affected both socially and symbolically by a changing "reality."
The research was conducted using both a quantitative and qualitative analysis
of media content.
Two central questions are at the heart of this research: 1. How is the
"other" portrayed in the national media during the outbreak
of national-ethnic conflict? In other words, how are Arab Israelis depicted
in the Israeli press? 2. Has there been a difference in this representation
in various newspapers throughout the years, and how can such differences
We analyzed two Hebrew national newspapers - one a popular daily and the
other a quality paper - and compared their coverage of the events. Our
findings showed similarities in the coverage of both events in the two
papers, including the use of disorder and terror frames, the identification
of Israeli Arabs as the enemy and not presenting the events as civilian
protest. Both papers used the voice of the establishment and the security
forces as the defining voices of the coverage, while ignoring the Arab
voice. The coverage was presented with the use of "us vs. them"
terminology, and the Arab leaders and the reasons behind the events were
de-legitimized. Nevertheless, there were some differences between the
coverage of the two newspapers and the two events. These differences stem
from changes in the socio-political environment, the media environment
and the Arab Israeli population in the course of the years.
On the authors:
Eli Avraham (PhD, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1998) is an assistant
professor in the Department of Communication, Haifa University, Israel.
His research interests include images of social groups and places in the
Address: Department of Communication, Haifa University, Mount Carmel,
Haifa, 31905, Israel. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anat First (PhD, Hebrew
University of Jerusalem, 1995) is a senior lecturer in Communication at
the Netanya Academic College, Israel. Her research interests include the
social construction of reality and images of minorities in the media.
Address: Netanya Academic College, School of Communication, Netanya,
Israel. e-mail: email@example.com