At least 100 Israelis have been arrested for social media posts supporting Palestinians in Gaza and 70 remain in detention, according to a legal advocacy group in the country.
Adalah, which represents Arab Israelis in human rights cases, said the arrests are part of an unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in Israel.
“We’re seeing things we didn’t see before,” Adi Mansour, an attorney in Adalah’s civil rights unit, said in an interview. “There’s a change in the perception of what is allowed and what is prevented.”
Police arrested Dalal Abu Amneh, a prominent Palestinian-Israeli singer, for “incitement” after her social media team posted a Palestinian flag with the caption: “There is no victor but God,” her lawyer told The New Arab.
Mansour said that others were arrested for posts that consisted of Koran verses, prayers for the people of Gaza and political analysis of Israeli military operations. He said that so far nobody had been charged by prosecutors, but that police had held many of them in detention for several days.
He said that judges have rejected requests for house arrest or other forms of release with conditions, like prohibition on internet usage.
“In all cases, their phones are taken — there is no probability that they will sabotage the investigation because there are no witnesses,” Mansour said. “The only question is the legal one — is this incitement or not — and despite this judges are giving the greenlight to extend the arrest.”
Adalah has also been working on the cases of 70 university students who are facing suspension or disciplinary action from their schools over social media posts since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas in southern Israel and the Israeli response.
Mansour said in one case a student is facing discipline for posting about a family celebration.
“A person was celebrating the engagement of her sister, but because she was posting the picture on the same day of — the 7th of October — she is facing a disciplinary process under the argument that she is celebrating the death of Jewish Israelis,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Israeli police did not immediately reply to a request for comment Wednesday.
Israel Police posted a video to its Arabic TikTok account Tuesday in which the police commissioner said that he would not allow demonstrations in support of Palestinians.
“Anyone who wishes to show solidarity and support Gaza is invited to board the buses heading there now,” Yaakov Shabtai, the commissioner, said, according to the video’s caption.