Media coverage of COVID-19 state surveillance in Israel: The securitization and militarization of a civil-medical crisis

Avi Marciano, Aya Yadlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Israel, traditionally known as a nation-in-arms, has been undergoing processes of securitization and militarization from its inception to the present day. While several countries have employed surveillance technologies to tackle the spread of coronavirus, Israel was the only country in the world to authorize its internal security agency to track citizens’ cellphones to deal with this civil-medical crisis. Employing a reflexive thematic analysis to news media outlets, this study examined coverage of Israel Security Agency (ISA) surveillance by four leading Israeli news sites, inquiring into the socio-cultural imageries, and motifs that informed their reports. While two of the sites were mostly supportive and the other two were critical, the coverage as a whole was informed by national security imageries reminiscent of Israel’s nation-in-arms tradition. Our discussion contextualizes these findings within a three-decade tension that has prevailed in Israeli society and culture between securitization/militarization and democratization/demilitarization.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)445-463
Number of pages19
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Israel security agency
  • coronavirus
  • media coverage
  • surveillance
  • thematic analysis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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