Home Media Action Alerts2015 HRC Prompts Toronto Star Clarification: Palestinian Assailant Killed Former Toronto Rabbi in Israel

HRC Prompts Toronto Star Clarification: Palestinian Assailant Killed Former Toronto Rabbi in Israel

by Mike Fegelman

On Thursday November 19, the Toronto Star produced an article by reporter Oliver Sachgau about how a “former Toronto teacher and rabbi (was) among three dead in West Bank shootings”.

While we thanked this reporter for writing this important article and the Star for carrying it on its website, HonestReporting Canada reached out to the Star to rectify an important omission to this article, which was how it failed to mention that it was a Palestinian assailant who had killed Rabbi Yaakov Don, a former Toronto Rabbi, in a drive-by shooting terror attack.

The lead and opening paragraphs of this Star article had reported only the following:

“Students and teachers in Toronto are mourning the loss of a teacher who was killed in a drive-by shooting Thursday in the West Bank.

Rabbi Yaakov Don, 51, was one of three people killed in the shooting in the Etzion settlement block south of Jerusalem, on a day that also saw two people killed in a renewed spate of violence in Israel and the West Bank.”

What this article failed to explain is that the drive-by shooting was carried out by a Palestinian terrorist. Star readers could have conceivably believed that this act of violence may have not been terror related, perhaps local crime which could have even been carried out by an Israeli. It was vital to explain the identity of the perpetrator of this attack considering what took place. In sharp contrast, for example, the Toronto Sun’s report was headlined: “Palestinian attacks kill 5 in Israel, including an American citizen” and CBC.ca’s coverage reported the following:

“Don and two others were killed Thursday night when a Palestinian motorist opened fire on a line of cars stuck in traffic in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

The Israeli military said he then intentionally rammed his vehicle into a group of pedestrians. The military said soldiers shot at the attacker, although his condition and identity were unknown.”

HRC asked the Star to amend this article to reflect this important context which was missing. We are pleased to note that the Star re-wrote this article and issued the following clarification notice which acknowledged that:

The Star, per our request, also included the following context to this article which was missing:

“Students and teachers in Toronto are mourning the loss of a teacher who was killed in a drive-by shooting Thursday in the West Bank.

Rabbi Yaakov Don, 51, was one of three people killed in the shooting in the Etzion settlement block south of Jerusalem, on a day that also saw two people killed in a renewed spate of violence by Palestinian assailants in Israel and the West Bank.

Don was killed when a Palestinian man opened fire from a submachine gun from a car as he passed vehicles stopped in traffic. According to witnesses and police reports, the man then crashed his car into another vehicle.”

HonestReporting Canada thanks the Toronto Star for its efforts to remedy the situation.

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