This all started for me today when I was browsing through news channels online; I came across an article about an Israeli-Arab who had been attacked in Germany – he had been mistaken for being Jewish as he was wearing his friend’s kippah to test a theory about anti-Semitism. You can see the article/clip here.
This got me thinking, and it took me back to a moment in January when I was in my brother’s living room in Israel, ‘Look,’ he said, ‘Israeli Arabs have the longest life expectancy in the Arab-Muslim world.’
I took the fact, filed it away, I guess, until this morning.
The combination of Israel-Arab wearing a kippah and an extra-long lifespan seemed to coincide.
I noticed that both the articles were published in Ha-Aretz, Israel’s long-running left-wing newspaper. (The links here aren’t from Ha-Haretz)
I couldn’t really dispute the kippah incident as there is video proof, although that is by no means conclusive, but, searching for the life-span fact, I couldn’t find any evidence that it was accurate other than headlines in pro-Israel media – Ynet, The Tower, United with Israel, and so on. There is even a graphic which goes with it.
Source: Taub Centre
I then did a little Googling myself and found Scientific article not disputing this fact, but suggesting that there is a significant life-expectancy difference between Jews and Arabs living in Israel.
Chernichovsky, Dov, and Jon Anson. “The Jewish–Arab divide in life expectancy in Israel.” Economics & Human Biology 3.1 (2005): 123-137.
Saabneh, Ameed M. “Arab–Jewish gap in life expectancy in Israel.” The European Journal of Public Health 26.3 (2015): 433-438.
Where does all this leave us?
Who do you believe?
Do you stop believing what you read?
Like Chesterton’s conception of God – if you don’t believe in something, you may as well believe in anything (is that a fake quote… check it out!)
I also think back to my pseudo-joke at medical statistics; If you take tablet ‘x’ you will have a 23.4 per cent reduction in risk of dying in the next five years; this of course doesn’t mean that you won’t be the sucker to die on the tablet, you are just less likely.
If you consider that fake news could be promoted by the mainstream media to encourage people to read their stuff, where are you? Left with conspiracy theories.
It all seemed to come to a head with the last US election, then the recent situation in Malaysia where promoting fake news could put you in jail; none of this is new. Last night, while the family were watching ‘Wonder’ (makeup) – I was wandering the web and found a website that investigates and debunks fake pictures;
It said that the lovely iceberg picture I am sure I have used in lectures is fake; and, even the story about the young English aristocrat who has a face on the back of his head. How sad.
Lately, well, the past couple of weeks, I have taken to watching the birds in my back garden while having breakfast (that, or, if they aren’t there, checking-out my Swordtails), instead of leafing through Google News.
I am sure the former is a more meaningful and certainly more Mindful activity and what I see is real, there is no mistaking the collared dove as it swings on my feeder for grain.
What to do?
We can’t give-up and resort to empty acceptance of everything; we need to challenge – we can’t stay quiet!
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is – there is no evidence to that statement, but, it makes sense.