While the world press reports on developments in Jordan, Israeli media forced to play catch up.

Israel Jordan
Jordanian police outside Israeli embassy in Amman . (photo credit:SOCIAL MEDIA)


The world knew about it, reported on it but in Israel there was nothing. For about 11 hours between Sunday night Monday morning, Israelis were forbidden from reporting on the events taking place in Jordan.

The fact that social media was full of the news about the an apparent attack near the Israeli embassy in Amman and stories had been published by Reuters, Fox News, the Independent and elsewhere, meant nothing. In Israel, journalists could not send out a tweet or post a word on Facebook. Everything about the attack was banned for publication by the Military Censor’s Office.

Shortly before the incident was placed under censorship, some information got through. Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova managed to launch a tweet saying only that there was a “dangerous security incident” at the embassy in Jordan.”

Initially, reports were unclear, but it was learned that at least one Israeli security officer at the embassy had been injured after he was stabbed by a Jordanian who was subsequently shot. Svetlova called on the Jordanian government to take all the necessary steps to ensure the security of the personnel at the embassy.According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the Israeli had been stabbed in the stomach in Amman by a man with a screwdriver moving furniture in one of the residences in the embassy compound Sunday night. The guard shot the assailant – identified as Mohammed Zakaria al-Jawawdeh, 17– in self defense. Al-Jawawdeh was killed, and another man at the scene – the owner of the compound – was injured and later succumbed to his wounds.

These details became available as the night progressed and foreign outlets, including news agencies, reported on the developments. But in Israel, complete radio silence.

Of course anybody with internet access and basic English or Arabic reading skills (or the ability to use online translation services) could learn all about it easily. News reports appeared throughout the entire international media – on Reuters, Fox News, the Independent and elsewhere. Everyone was reporting about the incident. The only ones who didn’t know were Israelis.

Slightly before midnight, the Jordanian General Security Administration released an official statement saying that the incident was being investigated. But Israeli media couldn’t even report that.

Reporters couldn’t even alert readers in Israel to the fact that the Foreign Ministry decided to evacuate all it staff from the Israeli embassy in Amman out of concern that the incident may cause riots outside the embassy, or that the move was stymied by Jordan.

It was that reason that the full censorship of the incident remained in place until Monday morning, hours after the incident. International and local Jordanian media, who began reporting the event shortly after it occurred continued to release details which Israeli media and foreign journalists with Israeli press cards were barred from reporting on.

Censorship was finally lifted early Monday morning. At this point Israel still has not fully evacuated embassy staff and the Jordanians have still refused to let the guard be transferred back to Israel. Jerusalem claims the guard enjoys diplomatic immunity and is exempt from investigation by Jordanian authorities.

The decision to leave Israelis in the dark was criticized by Israeli journalists and politicians. Unlike previous incidents in this case Israelis were also prohibited from citing foreign media sources for the story.

Even former chief IDF censor Rachel Dolev characterized the information blackout as excessive. In an interview to Army Radio she said the “aggressive actions by the censor were unjustified,” and only lead to a rumor mill breaking out on social media. She added that this was not the first time in recent weeks that the censor decided to act this way and as a result harmed the democratic value of having a free press.

At a time when information flows freely on the internet, many questioned the need for the censorship, which journalists and pundits argued Monday morning, was out of touch.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post