November 27, 2016 Special Dispatch No. 6694

Palestinian, Arab Responses On Social Media To Fires In Israel: Expressions Of Glee Alongside Criticism Of Gleeful Responses, Offers To Help Fire Victims

November 27, 2016
Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 6694

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 Palestinian wrote on the Hamas-affiliated "Palestine Now" Facebook page: "A collective prayer: Oh Allah, we ask you [to let] the fires rage just as the Muslim tears in Palestinian flowed and the just as every drop of pure blood was shed in cruelty and aggression, and as befitting [the honor of] the mosques and the Korans that the evildoers desecrated. Allah,  have no mercy on them, just as they have no mercy on our Palestinian brethren. Amen! Show them hell in this world, oh great and vengeful [God]. Amen!"[4]

A post on a Palestinian Facebook page called "Breaking News from Gaza" said: "When Abraha tried to destroy the Ka'ba, Allah showered him with flocks of birds,[5] and when the [Israeli] occupation tried to ban mosque loudspeakers, Allah exhausted [the Israelis] with raging fires that have not abated for three days."[6]    


An anonymous response to a post on the "Eyes on Haifa" Facebook page likewise stated that the fires were a punishment from Allah for Israel's muezzin bill. It said: "That is an Israeli settlement on fire. That's very good, they deserve it. It's a punishment from Allah for banning the call for prayer..."[7]

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]

An Arab user from Nazareth wrote on the Israeli Arab @we7di.48 Facebook page: "Allah akbar, praise Allah... Go on preventing the mosques' call for prayer and see what our God does [to you]..."[9] An Israeli Arab from Tamra wrote in a similar vein: "Allah knows all. This is Allah's wrath at the oppressor... Praise Allah..."[10]

A post on the Palestinian Shu'afat Al-Quds Facebook page stated that Israel was lying when it said that evidence of an arson attempt by Palestinians had been found: "The occupation authorities claim they found a car full of gas in one of the forests near a Jewish settlement, and that Palestinians had placed it there in order to set it on fire [and start a forest fire]. They repeated this lie until they believed it." A reader wrote in response: "Liars! It's just like they used to place knives in the cars of Palestinians [to falsely accuse them of planning stabbing attacks]."[11]


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 Glee From Around The Arab World

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]


The Egyptian Ghalaba movement, which opposes the Al-Sisi regime, posted on its Facebook page: "Allah, pour your wrath upon them just as they burned our children in Gaza... and make the flames of their fires also reach all the treasonous Arab leaders who made alliances with them."[15]   

Sheikh Mashari Rashed Al-'Afasi, the imam of the Great Mosque in Kuwait City and a ministry of religious endowments preacher, drew a connection between the fires and the muezzin bill. He tweeted: "Israel is burning. It is losing control and asking for help from its allies, after it banned the call for prayer in occupied Jerusalem and in our stolen holy places."[16]


Under the "Israel is burning" hashtag, a Facebook user named Ahmad Al-Nashar posted a picture of Hitler with the text "Yes, this brings back some memories. Die slowly, Jews, die slowly."[17]


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. [It has also reached] the woods of Tamra and Kabul, of Barta'a in Jenin, of Deir Sharaf in Nablus, of Jibia in Ramallah, and has reached Tulkarm and Qalqilya!! What are you so happy about? Oh fire, turn into hail; [I hope] our people [come out of this] safe and sound."[18]    


Another post on this page criticized the reports and the responses in the Muslim world that expressed joy at Israel's misfortune and linked the fires it to the muezzin bill. It said: "...Israel is burning several days after [debating] the muezzin bill, and joy is filling the Muslim countries. Allah akbar. [But]  it is trees, mountains and plains that are burning - namely the homeland. That's why I don't understand people's sense of triumph. Have we become so weak that we rejoice over the burning of a tree? All that's happening is that there is no rain, and the strong winds are fanning the flames. Keep your false sense of victory to yourselves. I hope we defeat [our own] ignorance someday."[19]


A post on the "Nazareth Here" Facebook page beseeched Allah to look after the trees, homes, forests and people.[20]

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]


Several Arab mayors and local council heads expressed sorrow over the damage caused by the fires and offered to host families, both Jewish and Arab, who have been evacuated, as a humanitarian gesture. The Nazareth Here and the @we7di.48 Facebook pages quoted Nazareth mayor 'Ali Salem, who described the events as "very saddening" and announced: "Nazareth, its facilities and its hotels are open to citizens who have been hurt by the fires, both Arabs and Jews." He added: "We are all human, regardless of our religion. We all live in the same country and we must be brothers both in times of need and in times of happiness."[22]


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


 The @we7di.48 Facebook page quoted the mayors of Kafar Qassem and of Rahat, and the municipality of Kafara Bara, as offering to assist and host evacuated families.[24] The Facebbok page of the Islamic Movement - Southern Branch quoted the movement's head, Mansour Kamal, as saying that dozens of Arab families are willing to host any families harmed by the fires, regardless of whether they are Jewish or Arab.[25]


 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.

[4],November 24, 2016.

[5] Abraha was an Ethiopian general who ruled much of present-day Yemen and Hijaz in the sixth century. According to commentary on verses in Surat Al-Fil in the Koran, Abraha built a cathedral in Sana'a to rival the Ka'ba as a destination of pilgrimage, and in response Meccans desecrated the cathedral. Abraha then set out with a force of elephants to destroy the Ka'ba, but Allah sent birds who killed the elephants by pelting them with stones.  

[6], November 24, 2016.

[7], November 24, 2016.

[8], November 24, 2016.

[9], November 24, 2016.

[10], November 22, 2016.

[11] , November 25, 2016.

[12] , November 24, 2016.

[13], November 24, 2016.

[14], November 23, 2016.

[15] , November 24, 2016.

[16], November 23, 2016.

[17], November 24, 2016.

[18], November 25, 2016.

[19], November 25, 2016.

[20], November 25, 2016.

[21], November 24, 2016.

[22],, November 24, 2016.

[23], November 25, 2016.

[24], November 24, 2016.

[25], November 24, 2016.

[26], November 24, 2016.

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