Director of Sderot Media Center visits UMass

By Cecilia Prado

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Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

Noam Bedein, Director of the Sderot Media Center (SMC), presented a lecture at the Isenberg School of Management on Tuesday about the current state of Sderot and the media surrounding it.

Sderot is a city localized in Southern Israel. Since the Gaza War in 2008 and 2009, Sderot has been the target of over 20,000 Qassan rocket attacks originating from the Gaza strip. Mainstream media coverage of this situation remains scarce.

The Sderot Media Center is a non-profit organization and media advocacy center dedicated to bringing to light the conditions of the everyday life of the residents of Sderot and Southern Israel who are constant victims of Gaza rockets.

Bedein founded the Sderot Media Center for the Western Negev Ltd., and serves as a photojournalist, lecturer and offers conferences to international government officials, diplomats, international press and students groups from all around the globe.

During the presentation, the CEO and photojournalist for SMC addressed the success that his company has had at exposing and fighting the rocket attacks terrorizing the Israeli city.

According to Bedein, his organization has been working inexhaustibly in order to restore the city’s peace. Their plan is to achieve this through the use of journalism to create empathy and awareness among the international community.

“Sderot is the only city in the entire Western World in which the entire civilian population has been targeted and affected by rocket threats,” said Bedein.

The SMC has presented their collection of material and evidence to the many international organizations, such as the Goldstone Committee of the U.N., and publications such as the New York Times, CNN and Fox News.

Throughout the presentation, Bedein displayed multiple videos and pictures of different case scenarios in order to illustrate the reality of Sderot. These included a video of kindergarteners being the target of Qassam attacks, and pictures of Mosques and civilian locations in Gaza being destroyed by rockets.

According to Bedein, the media exposure that the Qassam attacks have received have caused the government of Israel has taken a variety of measures to protect its citizens.

One of these measures is spending billions of dollars in order to create bomb shelters. Today, Sderot is known as the “bomb shelter capital of the world.”

Additionally, Bedein emphasized the harmful effects the rocket attacks have on the children, such as the increase of infants prescribed with anxiety medication. He passed around the public a collection of drawings made by Sderot kids during a platform designed to express their perspective on the attacks.

Bedein encouraged the audience to consider the gravity of the situation. He mentioned the importance of investing in producing accurate information instead of diminishing the counterpart.

“Think about any other country that would tolerate rockets being fired to its territory on a regular basis”, Bedein said.

The lecture was brought to the University by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), along with the Jewish Leaders in Business student organization at the Isenberg School of Management.

Cecilia Prado can be reached at [email protected]