Apartheid shawarma!

A survey served in pita bread

The Palestine Project
4 min readOct 14, 2022

Contrary to the code of journalistic ethics and common sense, the Mako website’s shawarma survey included only Jews • The editor of the site: contact the spokeswoman. Spokeswoman: No comment

By Oren Persico (Translated by Sol Salbe)

The mako website, part of the Keshet media conglomerate, has once again published an Apartheid survey, a public opinion survey that presents a representative sample of Jews only, even though the questions are relevant to both Jews and Arabs. This time the exclusion is drenched in a particularly sharp irony since the survey was designed to check the shawarma eating habits of Israelis and was conducted on the occasion of the publication of the list of the best shawarmas in Israel, many of which are owned and run by [Palestinian] Arabs [ie Israeli citizens].

As part of the Sukkot holiday magazine of the mako website, Aviv Batson posted the list of the 27 best shawarma spots in Israel. Next to the finding the website included, the “shawarma survey” was published which was composed of three questions: what is the best way to eat shawarma, what is the tastiest shawarma meat and what is Israel’s national dish.

According to the information provided in the article, the survey was conducted by the Midgam Market research and opinion surveys company headed by Meno Geva. The survey encompassed the participation of a representative sample of the entire Jewish adult population in Israel. In other words, about 20 per cent of the citizens of the State of Israel, who are not Jewish, including the owners and managers of Shawarma Bambino, Shawarma Ghanam and Shawarma Sabbah from Haifa. These Shawarma places happen to head the list of the best shawarmas in Israel. But, their owners and managers were not asked whether in their opinion the best way to eat shawarma is in a laffa, pita, baguette or on a plate. They were not asked for their opinion on whether the tastiest shawarma meat is lamb, chicken, veal or turkey, and they were not required to wonder whether shawarma is indeed Israel’s national dish.

The Press Council Code of Ethics prohibit the publication of discriminatory public opinion polls, which are based on a representative sample of one community and exclude another one, except in those exceptional cases where the subject being surveyed is not relevant to the excluded population (a public opinion poll devoted entirely to the Jewish holidays at the beginning of the year, for example, is not obligated to include Christians and Muslims ).

“The rules of ethics make it clear that the freedom of the press is not the freedom to publish things that discriminate against a certain group, and in particular not a community, a sect or a minority,” stated the appeal panel of the Ethics Court. “Polls that report on public opinion among the Jewish community only should not be published on a regular basis, nor should there be any exclusion of public opinion polls covering all citizens of Israel. When the survey is relevant to the general public, it must be conducted among the general public.”

Mako not only excluded the Arab society from the shawarma survey, but also misled the readers. The subtitle of the article promises that it includes “the survey that reveals once and for all how Israelis prefer their shawarma — in pita or in laffa”, and a similar promise is included in the body of the article, despite the fact that the survey reveals only how Israeli Jews prefer their shawarma.

The Ethics Court of the Press Council also expressly prohibited the formulation of misleading headlines, from which it can be concluded that the findings of a survey conducted among Jews only represent the position of the general public. According to the Ethics Court, “The presentation in the headline of the position being that of ‘Israelis’, ‘residents of Israel’ or ‘the public’, when in practice it is the position of the sample of ‘Jews’ — is simply misleading. There was no difficulty in explicitly saying in the headline that this is the position of the ‘Jews’. There was no need to stretch the headline in order to be precise, hence, the misleading impression that emerges from the headline — does not originate from an attempt to summarise the main point.”

Mako editor Omer Malka referred the Seventh Eye to the organisation’s spokeswoman, Sharon Ben-David, who said: “We will not respond.”