This issue of the Newsletter covers the period 17-20 January 2018. Israeli social media networks were preoccupied with a number of issues. In the first place, Israeli social media platforms commended an operation carried out by an Israeli army special force. Early this week, Israeli troops extra-judicially killed Ahmed Ismail Jarrar and demolished homes of other Palestinians, allegedly because they had established a cell that killed an Israeli settler from the Givaat Gilead settlement outpost. Israeli social media networks viewed the news as an achievement of the Israeli army special forces. In addition to praising the “liquidation”, Israeli social media activists applauded the performance of members of the special force.
Also this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that his government expressed regret to Jordan for the two Jordanian citizens, who had been killed by a guard of Israel’s embassy in Amman.
Netanyahu issued a statement, in which he attempted to misrepresent the truth. The issue stirred up the Israeli social media networks, which seemed to be reluctant to welcome the idea. With the exception of some leftists, many social media activists attacked the Prime Minister, considering his decision as weak.
Audio recordings released by Haaretz unveiled conversations between Matityahu Dan, Chairman of Ateret Cohanim, a Jewish settlement organisation, and Palestinian owners of properties in occupied Jerusalem. According to these recordings, Dan and other staff members of Ateret Cohanim, an affiliate of settlement religious Zionist movement, talked about ways, which have been be used to hold control of Palestinian properties in occupied Jerusalem for more than two decades. These include the provision of sexual services, on condition that women are not Jewish. Addressing their properties, conversations were also recorded with senior social and political figures. If they insisted to refuse to abandon their properties, conversations would be released. Ateret Cohanim believes that negotiation by itself will damage the reputation of these prominent figures.
Following this investigation, Beit Hillel, another organisation that promotes Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, released a post on Facebook, denouncing these techniques. The latter provoked Bezalel Smotrich, a religious member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home party, who tweeted an attack on the managing board of Beit Hillel.
The Israeli media covered the virtual battle between Smotrich and Beit Hillel. This is why the battle is monitored in this issue of our Newsletter.