Monday, December 5, 2016

Arab Responses On Social Media To Fires In Israel,

 with thanks to MEMRI:

Following the wave of forest fires in Israel in the last few days, many Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and Arabs in other countries responded to the events on social media. Many responses expressed glee over the fires, and described them as a punishment from Allah for Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, especially for its "muezzin bill" aiming to prevent mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call for prayer. At the same time, there were also many Israeli Arabs who condemned these expressions of joy and even called them "ignorant," and some Israeli Arab officials and individuals offered to assist and to host Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, whose homes have been damaged by the fires.

The following is a sampling of the responses on social media.

Expressions Of Glee Over The Fires, Claims That They Are "A Punishment From Allah"

A post in the Palestinian Facebook page "This is Nablus" stated: "Rejoice, oh Inshirah,[1]  Israel is burning, hahaha," eliciting expressions of joy and amusement from readers.

Another post on the same page said: "The winds did what the Islamic ummah failed to do in order to defend its religion. The winds are Allah's soldiers..." A reader wrote in response: "Allah curse the Jews, our God can [defeat] them."[2]

A Palestinian calling himself "Sham'at Tafaul" ("Candle of Optimism") wrote: "May Allah burn the Jews and protect the Arab Muslims and Christians in Israel."[3]

A user from Haifa responded on the same page: "Of course I am not glad of the fires, because I live in Haifa, but this is Allah's punishment for banning the call for prayer... I hope no Arab gets hurt... Fire does not distinguish between Jews and Arabs, [but] Allah distinguishes between the oppressors and the oppressed..."[8]

A response on another Facebook page stated that the fires were an Israeli attempt to incite against Israeli Arabs. It said: "I am almost convinced that all these fires were deliberately set [by Israel]. In my opinion – and I hope I'm wrong – this is one of the steps in the plan to incite against Israeli Arabs. They have already begun calling it an intifada. I don't believe in coincidences, there is a trick here."[12]

Expressions of  joy over the fires in Israel were also voiced around the
Arab world. In a post on his Facebook page, Saudi cleric Dr. Salman Al-'Odeh wished "the terrible torments of hell" on Israel.[13]

Egyptian poet Amir Teima tweeted under the hashtag "Israel is burning": "It is your right to feel that rejoicing over the fires in Israel is inhuman, and it is my right to hope the fire destroys everything in its path."[14]

Israeli Arabs Condemn The Expressions Of Glee Over The Fires, Call To Help Israelis Evacuated From Their Homes

A post on the Israeli Arab @we7di.48 Facebook page pointed out that the fires were also threatening Arab towns and villages: "The fire has reached Baqa Al-Gharbiyya,  Jabel Al-Qafza in Nazareth, the Iksal [area] and the Arab village of Nahaf. It is destroying everything and people are being evacuated from their homes. What are you so happy about? Oh fire, turn into hail; [I hope] our people [come out of this] safe and sound."[18]

The Israeli Arab Facebook page posted a banner captioned "Our Homes Are Open to All," which called on Arabs in the Galilee and the "Triangle" area: "Let us open our homes to all residents of Haifa, Jews and Arabs, whose homes have been damaged by the fires or who have left their homes fearing that the flames may reach them." [21]

The Baqa Al-Gharbiya municipality also offered to assist Haifa residents and to host them in the town.[23]

Many Israeli Arabs likewise offered to host families forced to leave their
homes because of the fires.[26]


[1]  A woman's name meaning "joy," from a well-known Egyptian song.
[2] 414842175305404, November 24, 2016.
[3], November 25, 2016.
[8], November 24, 2016.
[12] , November 24, 2016.
[13], November 24, 2016.
[14], November 23, 2016.
[18], November 25, 2016.
[21], November 24, 2016.
[23], November 25, 2016.

[26], November 24, 2016.

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