July 11, 2007

Haaretz: Israeli Web sites to mark year since IDF soldiers abducted

"On the day of the [Hezbollah] kidnapping [of two Israel Defense Forces soldiers], at 09:05 in the morning, Israel's Internet sites will come to a standstill.

"Instead of their homepages, they will display messages calling for
the return of the abductees. This important topic will be brought to the attention of surfers, and they will be able to express their opinions and respond.

"Anyone who enters the Israeli Internet world during those minutes will participate in the tribute to the abductees and will help communicate the most important message: Do not let apathy kill them!"
[emphasis mine]

So reads an email sent to Web site managers by the initiative's organizers. While I oppose government or private sector censorship or control of cyberspace, I support the initiative, and I support the message.

Ehud Goldwasser, left, and Eldad Regev
were snatched by Hezbollah on July 12, 2006.
(Haaretz Archive)

Last update | 15:22 July 11, 2007

By Ayala Tsoref, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel's major Web sites are planning to shut down for five minutes Thursday morning, to mark the exact hour at which two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were kidnapped in 2006.

The homepage of each site will be replaced with a message reading "The soldier can not be found," a play on the standard Internet error message, which reads "The page cannot be found."

According to the organizer of the initiative, Karnit Goldwasser, most of the major Web sites in Israel have agreed to participate in the event.

Goldwasser's husband, Ehud, was snatched in the cross-border raid along with Eldad Regev as the two were patroling the border with Lebanon.

Among the participating Websites are Ynet, Wallah, Tapuz, NRG, Globes, NANA, MSN and Haaretz.

The organizers predict that smaller Web sites will also spontaneously join the initiative.

The only major Web site that has not expressed its willingness to take part in the initiative is Google Israel - Israel's largest Internet site. The site is likely waiting for authorization from its international parent company....


Anonymous said...

Google did end up displaying a blue ribbon on it's homepage linking to a page saying "The soldier can not be found" - and it did this for the whole day rather than the 5 minutes other sites went offline for! Very brave for an international company

Tamar Orvell said...

Thank you for the news! I was googling all day Thursday (for my next blog post) and missed seeing the blue ribbon because I was searching on google.com, not the Israeli google.co.il. Yes, very brave for an international (intergalactic?) company. Yet what difference does company size and reach make? I should think that the bigger the company, the broader the support base... and the less to lose. Ultimately, right decisions also make sense from business, financial, even political perspectives. Not all that matters is material... I mean money.