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Ki Tisa 5773

Ki Tisa (Exodus 30:11-34:35 )

by Kalman Packouz

Rabbi Kalman Packouz' popular Jewish weekly.

GOOD MORNING! Were you ever incensed by an anti-Israel article in the paper, wanted to write a letter to the editor, but lacked the facts to make it more than an enflamed emotional diatribe? Now there is a book, Pressing Israel -- Media Bias Exposed from A-Z, that shows not only the devices the media uses to slant their articles, but gives the information you need to know to set the record straight.

Jerome Verlin has been engaged in "Media Watch" for many years. He is joined by Lee Bender in authoring this guide. The book is divided into two sections: 1) Media Bias Exposed 2) Background for Understanding the Misreporting of News.

We are not always aware how the media slants a story, so I thought it might be helpful to present:


9 Ways to Bias an Article Against Israel

  1. Inaccurately headline the story or focus the headline on something negative about Israel
  2. Use photographs that are inaccurate, irrelevant and unfair to the subject matter
  3. Put any pro-Israel facts towards the end of the story or omit them
  4. Quote Arabs without responses from Israelis -- or use quotes only from Israelis criticizing Israel
  5. Single out Israel to an impossibly high standard not applied to other nations
  6. Deny Israel the right of self-defense possessed by every other nation
  7. Unfairly equate Israel's response to terrorism to the acts of the terrorism
  8. Demonize and delegitimize Israel
  9. Use code words and biased phrases to mislead or perpetrate myths


Examples of Biased Phrases Used by the Media

"Suicide Bombers" -- They are not individuals who commit suicide with a bomb. They are mass-murderers of men, woman and children.

"Militants" -- The media often uses "militants" when referring to terrorists and mass-murderers. It is used because it is a softer term and is less condemning.

"Occupied Territories" -- The League of Nations Palestine Mandate recognized the Jewish people's right to reconstitute its Jewish National Home in Palestine (including Judea and Samaria and originally including what became Transjordan) and called for settlement of the Jews on this land. They are at worse disputed, not "occupied".

"Retaliation" -- To retaliate is to return injury for injury. Israel responds to prevent future attacks, to defend its citizens. This is a responsibility to its citizens and is a very far cry from the actions of terrorists targeting civilians.

"Millions of Palestinian Refugees and Their Descendants" -- Palestine's 1947 population was 2 million people of whom at least 1/3 were Jews. About 500,000 Arabs left Israel (and, by the way, a greater number of Jews were evicted from Arab countries which is rarely mentioned).

"The West Bank" -- This refers to the portions of Judea and Samaria that invading Jordan seized in 1948 and held until ousted by Israel in 1967. The term is used to denigrate and minimize the Jewish connection over the millennia to this area.

If you are interested in taking a more active role in defending Israel against biased media, then this book will be a welcomed addition. I also recommend Shraga Simmons' David & Goliath: The explosive inside story of media bias in the Mideast conflict and joining


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Torah Portion of the Week
Ki Tisa

The Torah portion includes: instructions for taking a census (by each person donating a half shekel); instructions to make the Washstand, Anointing Oil, and The Incense for the Mishkan, the Portable Sanctuary; appointing Betzalel and Oholiab to head up the architects and craftsmen for the Mishkan; a special commandment forbidding the building of the Mishkan on Shabbat (people might have thought that they would be allowed to violate the Shabbat to do a mitzvah ...).

The Torah portion continues with the infamous story of the Golden Calf. The people wrongly calculated that Moses was late in coming down from Mt. Sinai and the people were already seeking a replacement for him by making the Golden Calf (there is a big lesson in patience for us here). Moses sees them dancing around the calf and expressing anger he breaks the Two Tablets; he then punishes the 3,000 wrongdoers (less than .1% of the 3 million people), pleads to God not to wipe out the people, requests to see the Divine Glory, and receives the second set of Tablets of the Ten Commandments.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

After descending from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments, Moses saw the people dancing around the Golden Calf. The Torah relates:

"And Moshe stood at the gate of the camp and he said, 'Whoever is for the Almighty come to me.' And all of the descendants of Levi gathered unto him" (Exodus 32:26).

Why does the Torah add the seemingly extra word "all"? It would have been sufficient to just write "and the descendants of Levi gathered unto him."

The Chasam Sofer, a renowned 18th century Hungarian rabbi, tells us that "all" comes to include even Korach and those Levites who later rebelled against Moshe. Though they were greatly displeased with Moshe, when it came to the honor of the Almighty, they joined him to fight for the Almighty.

Our lesson: We should put aside personal prejudice and philosophical differences if we are called upon to take action for the Almighty, for the Jewish people or any righteous cause!


(or go to

Jerusalem 5:02
Guatemala 5:52 - Hong Kong 6:08 - Honolulu 6:18
J'Burg 6:20 - London 5:22 - Los Angeles 5:31
Melbourne 7:42 - Mexico City 6:23 - Miami 6:05
New York 5:29 - Singapore 7:02 - Toronto 5:47


No individual has any right to come
into the world and go out of it without
leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reason
for having passed through it.
--  George Washington Carver


AISH FACT: -- now independent, was created by Aish students in England in 2000. It monitors the news for bias, inaccuracy, or other breach of journalistic standards in coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a fast-action, interactive organization which alerts, informs and mobilizes its 140,000 grassroots activists via email to respond to unbalanced media reporting. HonestReporting also facilitates accurate reporting for foreign journalists covering the region handling over 1,000 inquiries from journalists each year.


With Deep Appreciation to

Steven Saiontz


With Special Thanks to

Frank & Elaine Gelb



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