Saddam's Capture - An Israeli View
© December 2003 by Asher Intrater
I suppose most of the world's coverage of this event was fairly uniform, but here are a few things that stood out to my notice from the Israeli press.
1. Prime Minister Sharon read a short statement of congratulations and support to the US. Like President Bush, he seemed to be concentrating most of his effort on holding back his catty smile from breaking forth into an ear-to-ear grin.
2. Saddam looked so weak and unimpressive as a human being. One couldn't help but be reminded of the prophecy of the downfall of the evil king of Babylon (Iraq): "Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble?'" - Isaiah 14:16
3. The Israeli press and their reports of the Arab press concentrated more than anything else on the "humiliating" treatment that Saddam was subjected to. While Americans were thinking more in terms of documentation, medical treatment, and security issues, what many Middle Easterners saw was humiliation. That shows something of the almost hysterical emphasis on "honor" in the worldview here.
4. Another aspect that was greatly emphasized among the Arab interviews was their dismay that Saddam did not commit suicide, or at least fight to the death. This was shameful to them. Many said that if he had committed suicide, he would have been considered a hero. This also gives some insight to the mentality behind suicide terrorism.
5. There seemed to be quite a contrast between the spontaneous celebration in the streets of Baghdad, and the immediate attempt of the liberal news broadcasters to start criticizing the Americans. The media seemed so caught up in their anti American agenda, that they just couldn't see the grassroots reaction of the common people.
6. In contrast Israeli news showed the incredibly somber reaction in the Palestinian territories. They seemed to be mourning the loss of someone they considered to be a great hero, promoting their cause against the Zionist and American imperialist enemy.
7. The upcoming trial is an issue that needs much prayer. Over the last two years, Israel had to deal with the trial of Marwan Barghouti, who was Arafat's right hand man in charge of the terrorism in the Intifada. When the trial was first being televised, Barghouti used it as a platform to promote his cause through the media. It was a free national propaganda campaign. When Israel realized the damage it was causing, they closed the doors on the media coverage of the trial. On the other hand, Israelis remember well the public trial of Adolph Eichmann, one of Hitler's top directors of the genocide against the Jews. That trial actually did much to raise public consciousness about the Holocaust.
8. Brief interviews with leaders of Hamas revealed harsh statements that they would seek a terrible revenge against America for the horrible crime of capturing Hussein.
9. Hussein's wife Samira was reported to have received $5 million in cash from Saddam, and escorted by him to the border - from there she made her way to Beirut, where she claimed to be in weekly contact with Saddam by telephone.
10. Hussein's capture also reminded me of the passage in Revelation 20 where an angel comes down to "lay hold" of the devil who had deceived the nations, and bound him for a thousand years, casting him into a pit. Perhaps also at that end time event, where an angel is doing the work behind the scenes, there will be a real human "godly" soldier who actually lays hands on the person who is doing the evil work of the devil on the earth.