When FRONTLINE/World correspondent Patricia Naylor interviewed
Danny Seaman, head of the Israeli government office that deals
with foreign press, he vehemently defended government
policy. Naylor asked him about the widespread view among
journalists that the Israeli government had suppressed open
reporting and Seaman responded, "Excuse me, but bovine feces." By contrast, when she spoke with Gideon Levy, a prominent Israeli columnist, he offered a searing critique. Levy said that in the last two years of reporting
on conflict zones, he'd become "much more afraid of the Israeli
soldiers rather than the Palestinians." As it turned out, Levy had his reasons; in summer 2002 the taxi he was riding
in came under a barrage of gunfire from Israeli soldiers. Read about the disputed shooting, and the dispute over the Israeli military's
treatment of reporters.
Danny Seaman is director of Israel's government press
office. When Naylor interviewed him in July 2002, Seaman argued
that the attack by Israeli soldiers on the taxicab carrying
journalist Gideon Levy and his colleagues was an unfortunate
aberration. "The chain of command was not followed," Seaman
explained. But he also was clearly angry about the more general
criticism of Israeli government policy toward reporters.
Most injured reporters, he insisted, had been hurt "only
in areas where there was combat -- and they were not supposed
to be there." Read edited excerpts
from Naylor's interview with Seaman.
back to top
Gideon Levy is former deputy editor of the Israeli newspaper
Ha'aretz and now a columnist and editorial writer for the paper. He is the only Israeli journalist covering the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from inside the Palestinian territories. When interviewed in August 2002, Levy was still reeling from an
incident in which he was fired upon by Israeli soldiers.
Though the soldiers were reprimanded in the aftermath
of the attack, the incident was simply a footnote to a
larger, more disturbing problem, Levy argued. "Because
it was me, it became a big fuss. Let's remember the real
victims are the Palestinians, and they are being shot
like this on a daily basis," Levy said. Read
edited excerpts from Naylor's interview with Levy.