In the constant battle against attempts to defame and delegitimise Israel we seldom find much to laugh at but recently two accusations have been so utterly absurd that we had to see the funny side of them.
In December there were reports of a shark attacking tourists enjoying water sports around Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt and subsequently, 30 miles of coastline were closed to swimmers by the authorities but not before five tourists had been very seriously injured and another one killed, by the creature. It was identified as an oceanic white tip shark, a species which does not normally come so near to the shore and is not known for attacking humans.
A SPYING VULTURE
On the heels of this tribute to Israeli ingenuity came another, this time involving a vulture which was caught in Saudi Arabia and promptly accused of spying for the Mossad. Suspicions were obviously aroused because the bird had been tagged with a GPS tracker by Tel Aviv University. Having seen, during our years of volunteering in the Clinic of the Jerusalem Zoo, the horrible things that have been done to birds of prey unfortunate enough to be caught and kept in Arab villages, we feared for the safety of this beautiful creature which is one of an endangered species. Happily, Saudi Prince, Bandar bin Saud Al Saud, understood about tracking devices and decried reports of the bird being part of a Zionist plot. As a result and to the joy of all conservationists, it has been set free.
These accusations are ludicrous but many others, which are spouted daily by the world’s media, often have a grain of truth in them and are almost impossible to check out accurately. Even if one can obtain the true facts from the Government Press, Prime Minister’s or Army Spokesman’s Offices, by the time they are published, if they ever are, it is too late, the mud has already stuck.
The saying, “A lie can be half way round the world before truth has got its boots on,” variously attributed to Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and even Julius Caesar, is, sadly, all too true.