Wednesday, March 28, 2012

972Mag Published Dishonest Headline, Covers Tracks

Zach and I do try to read sources of media outside of the Huffington Post, including places like Ha'aretz and 972mag. I came across one article in 972mag titled "IDF Colonel-Rabbi: Rape Is Permitted in War". I wasn't too surprised, religious officials make inflammatory statements all the time and rabbis in Israel are unfortunately no exception. But I clicked on it anyway to see the facts of the case.

Imagine my surprise when I learned the following from the body of the article:

1. The rabbi was not a colonel in the IDF when he made his remarks.
2. The statement was made nine years ago.
3. The rabbi did not say rape is permitted in war.

Here's the relevant section of what the rabbi actually said, according to the writer of the article, Yossi Guritz, (YZG):
"Just so, war removes some of the prohibitions on sexual relations (gilui arayot in the original – YZG), and even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge (yetzer ha’ra in the original  -YZG), under the conditions mentioned, for the purpose of the success of the whole.”"
So the rabbi says "fraternizing" is fine, which cannot be interpreted as "rape" by anyone, and says that individuals can satisfy "the evil urge." This means "man's misuse of things the physical body needs to survive." For example, eating more food than you need to or having sex for pleasure. It does not explicitly mean rape, in this case it can just as easily mean having unmarried sex with a gentile woman for pleasure.

You don't have to agree with my interpretation of the rabbi's words, but the point is there is a considerable amount of ambiguity there that the magazine completely ignored when it published its headline. When challenged on this ambiguity in the comments section, the writer of the article, Yossi Gurvitz, responded with the typical grace and tact we would expect from someone spinning the words of a rabbi to bash the IDF:

But apparently he or some editor at 972mag agreed at some level, because a couple hours later the article underwent a mysterious transformation. Here's the original headline and photo caption for the article:

And here is the new article headline and caption:

Oops, now he just "implies" it! Quite a difference, don't you think? Why couldn't Yossi Gurvitz and the editors at 972mag just have told the truth from the onset? Because the truth doesn't get you tons of clicks and lots of retweets on Twitter, like these:

For the record, I would be a lot more sympathetic to the left's point of view if they stopped pulling crap like this.


  1. The problem I see with the Rabbi's comments is that it seems that he believes that it is "forbidden" for a Jewish person to "fraternize" with a non-Jewish person. I agree that he is not condoning rape, but he does seem to be promoting bigotry (ie Jews and non-Jews should not fraternize), which I view as sad.

    - BeukendaalMason

  2. They need to make up their minds as to which lie they’re going to peddle.

    Heb. U. Paper Finds: IDF Has Political Motives for Not Raping
    Hebrew University committee prize-winning paper finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.
    “The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."


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