Netanyahu Agrees to Shut Down Social Media During the Riots, But Dismissed

A car is set on fire during clashes between Arabs and Jews in Acre, northern Israel, May 12, 2021. (Roni cOfer / Flash90)

Jerusalem, MINA – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported a proposal by police and defense officials to completely block social media in Israel during unrest in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, a report said on Sunday morning.

A senior Justice Ministry official dismissed the plan casually at a meeting, the Walla news website reported, citing an unnamed official with knowledge of the matter.

Israel has never covered up social media, a step that democracies don’t normally take.

However, defense officials have suggested temporarily blocking such sites, including Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, “because of the understanding that social media is exacerbating everything that is happening in the country,” according to the source.

“A lot of unrest emerged against a backdrop of calls and initiatives via Facebook and TikTok videos which further inflame tensions and inspire rioters,” the source was quoted as saying by Walla.

At the height of the unrest, some East Jerusalem residents posted TikTok clips of themselves or others attacking Jews who were around. There were also Jewish extremist revenge attacks in a number of cities that were filmed and also shared on social media.

After a motion to block social media was rejected, the government finally approved a massive troop deployment to Jerusalem, Lod and other mixed cities to quell the unprecedented violence, which claimed several lives and left many injured and large-scale damage. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)