The Arabic hashtag “Israel is burning,” which was utilized primarily to express joy over the wildfires that threatened property and life across the state, was used in over 128,000 tweets as of Thursday afternoon.
Other similar hashtags used across the Arab world expressed similar sentiments. For example, the most popular hashtag in Cairo was “the Zionist entity is burning.”
Many of the social media posts have linked the fires to the proposed Muezzin law that would ban all forms of calls to prayer on loudspeakers, and some of the ringleaders of the tweets include prominent Islamic preachers.
“This is what Israel gets for wanting to prevent muezzin to use loudspeakers in Palestine and in occupied territories that were stolen from us,” wrote Kuwaiti Imam and preacher Mishary Rashid Alafasi on his twitter account. “With these attempts to exercise control, Israel is losing support now.”
Many of the tweets claimed that the fires were an act of Divine retribution against Israel.
The Arabic hashtag “Israel is burning” seemed to have been propelled through the twitterverse by imams from Arab Gulf countries with tens of millions of followers.
One of those was Dr. Mohamad Al Arefe, a Saudi imam with 16.1 million followers, who tweeted the hashtag at 10:50 p.m. Wednesday.
“The fire is still burning in the Zionist entity!” Arefe wrote, adding he hoped God would “liberate the Al Aqsa [Mosque] from [Israel’s] filth.”
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) November 24, 2016