Tomer Devorah alerted me to the following:
Media Credentials for Top Israeli Bloggers
Erev Rosh HaShanah 5770/September 18, 2009, 10:49 AM
(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office will acknowledge the growing power of bloggers by providing writers of the most popular blogs with media credentials, according to Maariv. The credentials would allow the bloggers to enter news conferences and similar events.
The initiative was first revealed at the Second International Jewish Bloggers Convention this week by Ron Dermer of the Prime Minister's Office, who said it will take some time to implement the program. PMO officials will first spend months investigating various blogs and determining which of Israel's popular bloggers should be offered credentials.
As I understand it, this parashah was initiated by Jameel Rasheed @ The Muqata blog, when he made a public request for press credentials at the aforementioned convention:
"...Therefore, the logical question I asked was if the Israeli government wants our help to "Defend Israel" through the JBlogosphere (and we gladly help), why can't we get [Government Press Office] GPO Press Credentials? I was surprised that so many people applauded the question. Dermer promised he would take care of it. To help him with his promise -- if you are a serious blogger, drop me an email and I'll put together a request list to him....."The way I see it, the key word in the above news report is "investigating." Call it K'far Tapu'ah Paranoia, if you must. I choose to call it necessary suspicion of the government.
I have no problem with Jameel's request. If he receives press credentials, then more power to him. However, I believe we must keep this policy in perspective.
The Erev Rav controlled, Israeli government is running scared. The ratio of Haredim in the Israeli population continues to increase, as is that of religious Jews, in general. The majority of second-graders who started school this year are religious. The percentage of officers in the IDF who identify as religious is the greatest it has ever been, and continues to increase each year.
Yet, every time the Torah world attempts to assert its influence, the Israeli Supreme Court immediately shoots it down.
The government knows that it's only a matter of time before they will no longer be able to keep up the resistance.
Eventually they will have no choice but to take increasingly drastic measures, in a futile attempt to prevent the inevitable.
The Erev Rav controls the mainstream Israeli media. The center-right Jerusalem Post is sometimes critical of the government, but does sufficient bashing of Haredim and settlers to keep it off its back.
The last thing the Israeli government needs is a set of independent critics with access to government officials. They know what we have in mind, and they don't like it one bit.
If granted access to press conferences and other assorted events, we will do the one thing of which the Israeli goverment is terrified.
We will be asking questions, and not just any questions, but the questions they don't want to be asked, let alone answer in public. We will be asking the questions to which they do not even know the answers, causing them great public embarrassment. We will be asking "them" to justify their actions. We will be putting "them" under the microscope, and adding the information we gather to our posts publicizing the truth to Jews outside of Israel, keeping them informed as to what is really taking place here.
There is no question that not just any blogger will be granted press credentials. Oh sure, there may be one token they will be able to brand as a nut job in an attempt to discredit other bloggers they do not like. But don't expect any great revelations in freedom for the press with this new policy. No, the powers that be will be using this as an opportunity to "investigate" us.
Fellow blogger Nati of Mystical Paths has already been "visited" by the Shabba"k (General Security Service AKA: "Secret Police") over his writings.
There was a time when I figured that the powers that be did not take English speaking blogs seriously. We're just a bunch of ideological nuts,...regardless of ideological flavor.
Well, there is no doubt that "they" know we're on the map. Whether "they" think we are a threat to them, only time will tell. What we do know is that instead of flying under the radar, the radar will, at least periodically, be focused on us.
Beware of governments bearing gifts.