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July 5, 2016

Arabic-Language Social Media Glorifies Killing of Israeli Rabbi

On July 1, Rabbi Miki Mark was murdered by Palestinian terrorists who shot him from their vehicle as he was driving with his wife and three of their ten children in the Hebron area, near the settlement of Otniel where he headed the local Yeshiva. His wife and two of their children were wounded in the attack.

As was the case in the recent Tel-Aviv shooting, hash tags glorifying the attack began appearing on Arabic-language social media. They included #thehebronoperation, #theramadanjihad, #road60 (the highway where the shooting took place), as well as #thequickresponse, implying that this attack was in revenge for the killing of Sara Al-Hajjouj earlier that day, who according to reports, had attempted to stab Israeli Border Police soldiers at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Glorification of the attack was also referenced under hash tags relating to the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror which began in September of 2015, including #thejerusalemintifada and #theintifadacontinues.

Images posted on Twitter in aftermath of the attack showed the wrecked car (below) with the caption “A Settler is Killed and Three Others Wounded in a Heroic Shooting Operation in Hebron”, with the hash tags #road60 and #thequickresponse, along with the icon of the current wave of terror at the bottom left corner. Also appearing below is the caption “Your blood was not shed in vain. Blessed be your right hand, you who were quick to respond”. This refers to the killing of Sara Al-Hajjouj earlier that day.


A cartoon links the attack to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan by showing the rifle against the backdrop of a crescent, with the headline “Operation in Hebron in Retaliation for the Martyrdom of a Woman near the Cave of the Patriarchs.”


Notably, Facebook pages claiming affiliation with Hamas student cells of Palestinian universities also circulated similar images. One proclaiming to be Al-Quds University’s Hamas student cell posted (July 1) an image of the attack’s aftermath, with the caption “This is the Pure Weapon … the Weapon of the Resistance: a settler is killed and three others wounded in a shooting operation on their vehicle near Hebron.”


The same picture was posted (July 1) by another Facebook page proclaiming to be part of the Hamas student cell, this time of Hebron University. It also posted the following image, with the caption “The Month of Ramadan.. a Month in which the West Bank’s Men Recorded a Fierce and Heroic Battle.” Below appears the caption “A Settler is Killed and Three Others Wounded in a Shooting Operation on their Car near Hebron.”


A Facebook page presenting itself as that of the Hamas student cell of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank posted (July 1) a picture of late Rabbi Mark with the caption “Crushed”. The picture even specifically states that represents the Bir Zeit University Islamic Bloc of Hamas.


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August 18, 2015

Reactions to the Jerusalem Gay Parade Stabbing

Almost three weeks after the stabbing attack during Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, which left sixteen year old Shira Banki dead, Israeli society is engaged in a continuing soul searching over the attack and the status of Israel’s LGBT community.

Israel has a vibrant LGBT community and it celebrates in its strong record of freedoms and protections.  Nonetheless, there are clear homophobic elements in Israeli society.

Yishai Schlissel, the parade stabber – who had previously attacked a pride parade in 2005 – is a member of the ultra-orthodox community in Bnei Brak.  While acknowledging that there is homophobia among religious Jews in Israel, attitudes toward the LGBT community are not monolithic.

Credit: Ludovic Bertron

Credit: Ludovic Bertron

According to a Haaretz report, a group of ultra-orthodox Jews from Bnei Brak reached out to the LGBT community and met with their representatives at the Gay Community Center in Tel Aviv.  Although the Ultra-Orthodox participants decided to stay anonymous, the importance of the dialogue and the discussion lay in the fact that it took place and was reported in the press. Such an unmediated encounter enables knowing each other on the basis of openness and an attempt to accept the other – a positive sign after the dark events.

On the other side of the spectrum came the much publicized comments of Bezalel Smotrich, an ultra-nationalist and a member of Knesset from the Jewish Home Party, who serves as Deputy Knesset Speaker.  Over the years Smotrich has made numerous anti-gay statements, and has described himself as a “proud homophobe.”  Days after the attack, he referred to gay pride events as “abomination parade” (a term he has used before).  In an interview he gave a few days ago on Galei Israel radio, Smotrich said: “There are a lot of gays in the media and they decide for us what to think and what to say.” Smotrich said that their “control” of the media has created legitimacy and public support for them. I am confident that 95% of Israelis want their children to raise a model family and have grandchildren. That’s what a healthy, normal person wants… These people have enormous power in shaping our consciousness. They number dozens of dominant people. So naturally, people can’t hear a voice like mine and when I speak to the media, I’m cut off after half a sentence and I sound deluded because I’m unable to explain myself.”

Jewish Home head and Education Minister, Naftali Bennet, responded, “I reject these statements with disgust…” and many others rose to condemn Smotrich.  Meanwhile, Ometz, an organization whose mission is to promote ethical governance, is asking the Knesset Ethics committee to review Smotrich’s comments.


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February 7, 2014

Iranian TV Broadcasts Simulated Attacks On Israel And U.S.

A day after the U.S. government announced a temporary sanctions waiver on the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Iran’s broadcasting authority, IRIB’s channel 1 broadcast highly inflammatory and belligerent video segments simulating an Iranian attack against Israel and U.S. warships.

The segments aired live on February 7, 2014, before the weekly Friday prayers were broadcast.

One of the segments (watch below) shows Iranian drones targeting and destroying civilian and military sites in Israel. The clip also includes an audio message from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s 2013 Persian New Year address where he threatened that if Israel were to “make the mistake of attacking Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

In the second segment (watch below), U.S. warships are shown invading Iran’s territorial waters. After issuing warnings, the Iranian air force dispatches bombers to destroy the U.S. warships patrolling the Persian Gulf. The simulation also depicts Iran’s ability to strike U.S. interests in the Middle East with its missile system.

The airing of the segments comes at a time as the Iranian regime readies to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution against the Western backed monarchy.

The waiver on IRIB is slated to last for 180 day and will permit non-U.S. satellite companies to resume IRIB broadcasts. The waiver is apparently part of a goodwill and confidence-building gesture toward Iran as nuclear negotiators prepared to meet for another round of negotiations. Based on this IRIB broadcast, the waiver may wind up undermining confidence in Israel, the U.S. and throughout the world.

Iran’s English-language propaganda station Press TV, which provides a platform for American anti-Semites, conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers, is also included in the exemption.

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