A new study recently published by the association “Sikkuy” (Chance), based on data from “Yifat Media Research,” shows that Arab citizens are virtually completely excluded from the screen in the Israeli Hebrew-language media. During the past year, 69% of the items broadcasted about Arab society were aired without the participation of even a single Arab interviewee. According to the author of the study, the Idan Ring, “Seeing how the media have chosen to systematically exclude the Arabs citizens [of Israel], it is not surprising that viewers are left with a one-dimensional picture of reality which has radicalized their positions and increased the level of hatred, and reinforced calls for a boycotting of Arab businesses and the laying off Arab workers. This snowball which has resulted is now going to be difficult to stop.”
According to Ring: “The most significant thing we found in our study, The Price of Exclusion, is that when no Arab appeared in person on the screen, the result was entirely unacceptable negative coverage in the extreme about Arab society.” However, when the report accompanied by one or more Arab respondents, it was far more balanced and fairer. The numbers are conclusive: negative coverage jumps 2 times as soon as the Arab interviewees do not appear on the screen. “This exactly the reason that we struggled during the past year for appropriate representation of Arab interviewees in the media: their exclusion from the media has a price, and the price is superficial, unbalanced, and unprofessional coverage, which only exacerbates the divide between Jews and Arabs at the most critical moments. This study is a wake-up call to the Israeli media: We all pay the price of this exclusion in a more divided society, in increased hatred and in untold harm to the fragile social fabric of relations between Jews and Arabs. It’s time to change direction,” Ring stressed.