After Arutz Sheva's editorial board decided on Sunday not to air footage of the brutal terrorist attack last Thursday night which left a security guard fighting for his life, Arutz Sheva Editor-in-Chief Uzi Baruch spoke to Army Radio later on Sunday explaining the decision.
The gruesome footage of 48-year-old Tzvika Cohen being hacked repeatedly by an ax-wielding Arab terrorist at around 1:15 a.m. on Friday morning, leaving him in critical condition, was aired by several news sites, leading to a public debate over when attack footage should be presented to the public.
Baruch explained that for news sites there are no clear guidelines on the topic, and each incident is decided on separately.
"In this footage that I received last night, I accidentally watched it because I didn't know that it was the shocking documentation of the ax attack," he said, noting the decision was made right away not to publish it even if the media gag order was lifted.
"I think we have to understand that the terror only harms one person in this specific incident, Tzvika Cohen who we wish a speedy recovery to, but its goal in the video itself is to terrify millions, to sow fear among millions of Israelis," he said.
"If we bring the video and present it to the public we basically are serving the terror."
Baruch said the decision has to be made intelligently as to which videos are appropriate to present, and which are not, stressing that in the case of the footage in question "those who viewed the video of the mall in Ma'ale Adumim – I look at our headline from the brother of Tzvika Cohen who asks: 'does an 8-year-old child need to see how they cut apart his father?'"
"This particular video is a pornographic film, nothing more, there is no point in showing a man hitting a Jew lying on the ground dozens of times with an ax, there is no point," emphasized Baruch, noting on the graphic clarity of the film that is reminiscent of "horror films," and comparing it with other attacks captured on camera at much lower quality.
Baruch added that these considerations come in addition to respecting the family of the victim, which is shocked that the video was aired, and which was not consulted about the decision to publish it by those news sites that did.
When asked whether the publication of such imagery might not cause the world to identify with Israel more or else force the Israeli government into action, Baruch explained that such arguments have proven false.
He noted that 80% of the readers of Arutz Sheva's English page are located in the US, but for the English page as well it was decided not to post the video.
Explaining his reasoning, he cited how the government published images from the Fogel family massacre in 2011, and Arutz Sheva at the time decided not to post the images on its Hebrew page but published them on the English page so as to shock the audience in the US, in the hopes of stirring up greater identification and sympathy with the threat of Arab terror in Israel.
"We say time after time that we want to shock the world. Guys, the world is not shocked, those who want to know understand exactly what the cruel terror does, those who track Arutz Sheva and all internet news sites saw the car ramming attacks against innocents on the sidewalk, they saw the Fogel family…they saw, they know."
"We don't need to bring another movie. Those who want (to know) are shocked, and those who don't want (to know) won't be shocked, even after seeing the footage from the mall in Ma'ale Adumim."