Friday, February 9, 2007

Earth moving in the Holy City

This afternoon, for an hour or so, I was caught up in friendly e-mail contacts with a few French journalists concerning significant flaws in their Internet reporting on current events in Jerusalem. For example, they had published a report in which it was said that Israeli bulldozers were operating on the Temple Mount. First, I pointed out that the equipment shown in photos consisted of excavators, not bulldozers, and that they were being used for an archaeological investigation down on the plaza of the Western Wall, alongside the earthen ramp that leads up to the Temple Mount. Then, since I know Jerusalem and its history fairly well, I was able to correct other errors of this kind, and even send the journalists a rapidly-drawn map of the Temple Mount area enabling them to understand exactly where the excavating was taking place with respect to the Dome of the Rock, the al-Aqsa mosque and the Western Wall.

It was interesting for me to see that, after each of my e-mails, the article in question, published on the web by a major French media organization, was promptly modified and republished to reflect my suggestions. Then one of the journalists would send me back an e-mail reply thanking me for my help. Since my children are not particularly keen on seeing their father fiddling around in the same professional fields in which they themselves operate, I used a trivial alias in communicating with these journalists. Likewise, I don't wish to indicate here the identity of the organization with which I was in contact, except to say that it is one of the biggest state-owned media systems in France. In any case, I was thrilled to discover that it is perfectly feasible for an unknown private individual such as me to intervene directly, in this fashion, at the level of content concerning such an important current-affairs story.

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