This past weekend, at the successful conclusion to our military's operation at sea, we all saw pictures and heard voices from the field. The mission was documented from every possible angle and showed us the reality. At least three film crews were attached to the operation, cameras were affixed on the commandos' helmets, and seaborne editing rooms were set up. Another team broadcast the operation from afar and tailed Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, in coordination with Government Press Office photographers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the U.S., and the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, which released the edited material to the media.
Operation Full Disclosure was disclosed to the general public in the best possible way. Every director and producer watched and was filled with envy. This is how you make action movies; this is how you portray reality.
But as usual, there were cynics who immediately found faults in the extent of the coverage: too much, too scripted, too big a celebration, soldiers shouldn't pose for the cameras, it's an army -- not Hollywood. So these days, when every nonevent gets 30 percent ratings and calls itself "reality," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit understood what the viewers needed and what they deserved to see. Reality. Good, tight, even if it was slightly scripted here and there. Media outlets are thirsting for this kind of footage -- it's what sells and brings in ads. Much more than twins putting on nail polish or someone baking artichokes. If the IDF Spokesperson's Unit had not disseminated these images, the media would have been left to spin in the studio.
About two weeks ago, I was channel surfing and happened on the movie "Mivtza Yonatan" ("Operation Thunderbolt"), which recreates the 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Entebbe and the rescue of the Israeli passengers in a complex military operation. The film, which was nominated for an Oscar, shows the IDF at its best. All Israeli children watched it in school for years. We were all proud of our brave soldiers and even more so, proud that we had action just like in Hollywood.
And now, after media disasters produced by the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, such as the coverage of the interception of the Mavi Marmara in 2010 or the Gallant affair, and even laconic responses to small, embarrassing scandals, a treasure trove of film and reports came flooding in from this latest operation. I personally had no trouble watching Israeli Navy commandos reciting the Kiddush prayer a moment before the mission commenced.
Menahem Golan, who directed "Mivtza Yonatan" and many other films, once said that those who criticized his movies would "get what they deserve."
At our Sabbath dinner, it was much more important to me that my 8-year-old nephew see our forces steaming toward the Klos C and overtaking the weapons ship than watch models in skimpy clothes trying to pick coconuts on some reality show. And maybe this Purim holiday he and his friends will want to dress up as real heroes -- IDF soldiers. Like kids used to.