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  • Time to uphold the law on racism and hate speech in Israel

    Scores of racist commenters rejoice at the sight of a news item about the tragic death of four young girls in the Hebron area. So why doesn't anyone do anything about it?   By Tomer Zeigerman This past Thursday, Israel's Channel 2 News posted on a news item on its Facebook page about a tragedy in Hebron: four Palestinians girls had died after they were forgotten in a car (actually, the girls accidentally locked themselves while playing, and this did not happen in Hebron but in a nearby town, Taqumiya). Scores of Israelis responded with appalling comments. Here's a small…

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  • Israeli police lock up Haifa activist for Facebook statuses

    Police detained and held Razi Nabulsi, a young Palestinian from Haifa for a week for statuses he posted to Facebook and Twitter, claiming they constituted incitement. The catch? Even though the statuses were posted publicly on the Internet, police declared them to be secret evidence and refused to publicly say in court what he was accused of writing. By Yoav Haifawi Razi Nabulsi, a 23-year-old activist and student in Haifa, spent the last week in jail for statuses he publicly posted on Facebook and Twitter. His detention was extended twice. In four different court hearings during the week (two remand extension…

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  • IDF soldier passes IDs of Jewish girls who socialize with Arabs to anti-assimilation NGO

    A female IDF soldier who is often stationed at checkpoints is apparently very disturbed by the fact that some Jews and Palestinians actually hang out. The soldier turned anonymously (on Facebook) to Yad La'achim a religious organization whose mandate is to "save Jews from assimilation," in the hopes they can help her prevent this from happening in the future by talking some sense into these young women. As she wrote to them: Hi, I speak with true pain, as a soldier working at checkpoints and every Friday night Jewish girls pass through in minority cars [common euphemism for Arabs]. I would…

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  • New Knesset member visits a friend in Ramallah: 'This is not normal'

    Adi Koll, a relatively unknown Knesset member from Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party, posted this picture along with an uncharacteristically long and emotional status on Facebook, the day after she paid a visit to the home of a Palestinian friend in Ramallah. (Translated in full below) Warning! This post will be long, controversial and without color photos, even though I have plenty of photos. I made sure to take pictures throughout the day with the intention posting them to Facebook so I can show what we would all rather forget. But now it feels pointless. No picture can describe…

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  • 'Prisoner X': Censorship and gag orders in the age of new media

    The 'Prisoner X' affair was sensitive enough for Israel to use all of its censorship tools at once: the military censor, gag orders and the 'editors committee.' But was the effort by the Prime Minister's Office entirely about national security, or did it have to do with protecting those responsible for the mess? And what should the affair teach us about the ability to keep information from the public in this technological age? The affair known as the death of "Prisoner X" is becoming an interesting test case for the effect of new media on state secrets and the relations between…

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  • Contestant boasts about grabbing Jennifer Lopez’s buttocks on Israel's 'The Voice'

    It’s one thing to have a cold relationship between Netanyahu and Obama, but I really don’t think Israel should get on J-Lo’s bad side. Unfortunately, this might happen. A few weeks ago I watched the third episode of the Israeli version of "The Voice" featuring a contestant from Los Angeles, an Israeli called Michael Alhadif, whose stage name is Michael Jade. Now, apparently Jade has been on American Idol, and even got so far as the top 40 (wow!). Personally, I don’t know how he got so far - but I digress. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2t_Ltq0bd0 In an interview segment that was shown…

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  • Israelis give their votes to Palestinians in Facebook campaign

    In an act of protest one can only find in the world of social media, activists open a Facebook page where Israelis are urged to 'hand over' their voting rights to Palestinians. Every once in a while, social media shows you what an amazing tool it can be. On December 26, 2012, a new Facebook page was created, called "Real Democracy." The basic idea behind it is that Israelis "give up" their vote in the upcoming elections to any of the millions of Palestinians under Israeli rule who have no right to vote. It's all done on Facebook. The Israeli…

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  • Netanyahu answers Facebook comments criticizing ceasefire with Hamas

    Prime Minister's Netanyahu's announcement of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, which was also posted on his official Facebook page, received this evening an uncharacteristic number of angry comments by citizens demanding the government continue the assault on Gaza, among them: "Puppet for the U.S."; "You have surrendered to terrorism, shame!"; and so on. The Israeli media has been in "war mode" in the last few days, extensively covering the preparation for what seemed to be an inevitable ground invasion, with some commentators sounding like cheerleaders for the army. The somber tone of the last day – despite the attack on a…

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  • Facebook won't remove photo of woman 'begging to be raped'

    You may have heard about the massive cyber-war against the Reddit group "Creepshot", which featured users sharing surreptitiously taken pictures of women's cleavages, upskirts etc. The war hit the headlines when one of the thread's contributors was revealed to be a school teacher taking pictures of his own students in class. It seems now that some of its denizens have found a new home - Facebook. Yesterday, a Facebook page titled "Creepshots" posted a photo of a woman in a short skirt with the caption "begging to be raped": Although almost all 45 comments (at time of writing) were negative…

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  • On Facebook, IDF illustrates Palestinian violence - with photo from Bahrain

    An infographic purportedly depicting Palestinian attacks in the West Bank makes its case with a photo shot during a Bahrain protest. This would not be the first time the army posted misleading photographs to Facebook to serve its PR machine. By Mati Milstein On October 17, the Israeli military posted the above infographic on its Facebook page. The image includes a photograph of a young masked man holding a firebomb and featuring statistics regarding the number of firebomb attacks against Israelis in the West Bank since the start of 2012. The Israeli military urges Facebook users to share the image…

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  • Israeli children deported to South Sudan succumb to malaria

    Three months ago, Interior Minister Eli Yishai deported several hundred families from Israel to South Sudan, despite unequivocal statements by human rights group that mere fact of the established state is far from the offering the safety that would allow for these families' return; the request was at least to extend the group exemption from deportation - Israel's mechanism of neither denying nor granting asylum - a few months longer. Even that demand was ignored. The deportees' baggage, all 14 tons of it, was delayed for two months and kept at a warehouse in Israel, simply because the state felt…

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  • American Express marketing gimmick backfires on Facebook

    American Express, one of the biggest credit card companies in the world, is obviously not using its money that well. Otherwise, how could you explain them hiring the ad agency that made the ad below. Three pictures, one on top of the other, of hummus, swimming in the Dead Sea, and army boots, and one question splashed across it that asks Facebook readers: “What is an Israeli moment for you?” Let’s just say, none of the comments left on the site were probably what the advertisers had in mind. If I had the time and money, I’d translate as much as I…

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  • My chat with Rabin killer's accomplice on why 'he was eliminated'

    Remember a few weeks ago when I sent a friendship request to Hagai Amir, the brother of Rabin’s assassin Yigal Amir, on Facebook? Here’s what I wrote about it back then. Well, a few days later he accepted and we’ve been pals ever since. OK, not really. We haven’t spoken. Was never inclined to. But last night something happened. I posted a small photo album of pictures I took the night before. They were from the anti-war-with-Iran demonstration under Ehud Barak’s luxury apartment in central Tel Aviv. Not long after I posted the album, Hagai Amir left a comment on…

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