Hezbollah supporters and pro-Palestinian social media celebrate the tragedy on Lag Ba’omer
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While in Israel people stood in long lines to donate blood after the tragedy on Lag Ba’omer, uniting Arabs and Jews who both mourned the victims, there were media in the region and anti-Israel voices that celebrated the deaths.
While it is difficult to quantify all the hatred against Israel, it was clear that some Arabic language media reported the dead as “settlers,” while others included a large number of comments supporting the fatalities.
Among supporters of Hezbollah, for instance, there were tweets supporting the tragedy. “More than 20 terrorist murderers occupying Palestine dead,” wrote one account.
The same account, with more than 2,000 followers, mocked the idea that the victims were civilians and posted a photo of a crowd of Orthodox Jews at Meron, calling them a “terrified terrorist mob.”
“We are celebrating the deaths of Zionists,” wrote another pro-Palestinian account that has more than 3,000 followers. Another account with 24,000 followers approved and called for stabbings, asking God to “increase this night of hell fire.”
Another Lebanese account put a heart over a photo of the dead from Meron, signaling support for their deaths. This type of reply was common.
Another account replied that they were happy to hear Israelis had waited for minutes trying to reach their dead children. “Sitting on their phones for half a minute, God is great, praise be to God.”
The term “God is great” or “Allahu Akbar,” while it can be used as a way to honor God, is also commonly used by Jihadist extremists during terror attacks when celebrating the murder of the innocent.
Twitter appeared to take no action against those celebrating the deaths or subsequent tweets celebrating a “sacred stabbing” attack.
The Pro-Hezbollah and pro-Palestinian accounts celebrated the deaths throughout the night of the tragedy. One shared that the death toll had risen to 45 and received likes and retweets. The account had 2,300 followers.
Another user named “Ali” – who has Palestinian and Lebanese flags in his Twitter profile – put a photo of sweets and noted that “20 Israeli settlers were killed” in “northern occupied Palestine.” Terrorist supporters often share sweets in places when news of terror attacks is announced.
The overall number of tweets celebrating the deaths is hard to determine, but the avalanche of them, including many accounts with thousands of followers, shows that it was not a small phenomenon.
One account that shared a photo of dead bodies in body bags and called it a “blessing” received more than 200 likes.
In searching through the numerous accounts supporting the deaths, one account with 1,800 followers has the term “death to Israel” as a background in their profile. It doesn’t hide its support, posting photos of a dancing meme and noting with hearts that there are “20 Israelis dead.” The user, named Mina, noted “imagine not celebrating the Zionists deaths.”
The users celebrating the deaths were cognizant of critiques of their views. “When you willingly choose to live in occupied Palestine, you’re not a ‘civilian’ but an illegal settler, a racist, a genocide-enthousiast [sic] and a modern terrorist. Terrorists are terrorists, don’t try to condemn that,” wrote one account with 2,000 followers.
Another user who called herself a “news reporter” wrote “Oh God, increase their killers and [give] their nation a bad death,” with a video of Orthodox Jews. She hashtagged her message “Palestine” and “17th of Ramadan” and “mystic bridge.”
Other tweets by the supporters posted videos of the crush that led to the deaths, mocking them and noting “the fire of hell has opened.” Another man named “Kassir” posted the same video and wrote “praise be to God very much.” They call the deaths a “special gift” and noted “I couldn’t stop laughing.”
The hashtag “holy bridge” or “mystic bridge” in Arabic appears to be the one used by thousands of supporters of the deaths.
A review of the hashtag reveals numerous tweets with hearts and celebrations of the “resistance” against the innocent who died. One person with 55,000 followers named “Fadi” wrote next to an Al-Jazeera video of the people being evacuated from Meron: “demons of the earth to hell.”
Many women on Twitter, apparently mostly from Lebanon, also tweeted celebrations for the dead. One woman named Farah posted the “holy bridge” hashtag and wrote “oh God, count them in their number, kill them and do not leave any of them.”
An analysis of a handful of the thousands of likes of these various tweets did not reveal any verified accounts liking them. That doesn’t mean no verified accounts applauded the deaths; it was clear that many accounts with large followings supported the deaths.
Many have condemned the hatred directed at the dead and the celebrations after the Meron disaster. They have wondered why social media tolerates this incitement. In contrast to the hatred from Lebanon and some accounts in the region, there was an outpouring of commemorations from Gulf countries, where Israel has found new peace partners.