“We are being brainwashed here in Israel”

Photo of Dor Cohen
Emma Wendt

“Israelis are on a daily-basis being brainwashed with propaganda from not only the news and society but from their own family members” says Dor Cohen (23), an Israeli 3D animator, currently living in Jerusalem. Cohen fears these strongly propagandized ideologies will lead to narrow-minded individuals.  

Propaganda goes beyond the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. People are being brainwashed from multiple directions whether this be from history schoolbooks, the news, prints or passed on through family generations. Some of the beliefs Dor Cohen has grown up with include, “Israel is perfect, the whole world hates us so we have to stick together against them” and “be strong in the face of terrorism from the big horrible Hamas and other Arab countries as they want the utter destruction of all Jews.” As he explains by phone, “we are being brainwashed here in Israel.”  

Apart from greater conflicts between Israel, Hamas and terrorism, Dor Cohen has also witnessed strong propaganda within certain news stories. Last May, a Palestinian-Canadian doctor was shot whilst helping the wounded on the Gaza border. He was amongst 56 Palestinians who were killed. Israel did not report this incident. Furthermore, Israel does not report on the horrible conditions in which Gazans live. Here, people are suffering from a shortage of electricity, lack of water and travel inabilities. “It is partly Israel’s fault as they, amongst other things, restrict the flow of goods in and out of Gaza. Hence, they don’t want to shed the spotlight on it,” he says.

According to Dor Cohen, within Israel’s society there are many agendas. The right- and left-wing Israelis are in dispute over how to create peace with the Palestinians and whether or not the Arabs can be trusted. Division is also taking place between the secular and orthodox Jews. “The orthodox push for more rules while the secular want to live without religious coercion,” he states. Propaganda is used as a tool for gaining more support, however as “Israel puts Church before the state” the orthodox often win.

The issues mentioned are a mere sample of the type of propaganda that takes place in Israel. “There are so many conflicts in Israel and people often lean on family, the news and society to form an opinion rather than their intellect. However as a result of propaganda, the one-sided communication leads to prejudiced knowledge,” Dor Cohen strongly asserts.