Daily Israel Report

Arab Users Tweet: Israel Cares About its Citizens

The release of Gilad Shalit has attracted worldwide attention, including Arab users of the Internet who share their thoughts on Twitter.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 10/19/2011, 10:30 PM

Shalit Interview
Shalit Interview
Egyptian television

The release of Gilad Shalit has attracted worldwide attention, including that of Arab users of the Internet, who have used the Twitter social network to share their thoughts on the exchange deal with the world.

Israel’s Channel 10 News on Wednesday presented some of the tweets written by Arab users over the past 24 hours, since Shalit was released from captivity and returned to his family home.

Many Tweeters, Channel 10 noted, wondered how little Arab citizens are worth to their governments, compared to the distance that Israel was ready to go for the release of one citizen.

“I have to say something that you probably won’t like, but I’ll say it anyway: Israel exchanged 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli,” a Syrian user nicknamed SooriMadsoos wrote. “I’m just jealous of their government, because it cares about its citizens. Their government is willing to pay the ultimate price for one citizen. All this while our government is killing us like animals.”

Many users also addressed Shalit’s health and his physical condition. Shalit, though alive, appeared thin and pale, but many Arab Tweeters showed no concern for that.

“Shalit, like half the Palestinians living in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria –ed.] and the Gaza Strip who eat under the occupation, is ‘malnourished,’” one wrote.

Another user wrote, “If you’re surprised that Shalit is undernourished, you must have forgotten that he ate in Gaza like a Palestinian.”

There is, as is well documented, however, no food shortage in Judea, Samaria or Gaza, but there is a blatantly unequal distribution of wealth in Gaza that may leave many Gazans hungry while others enjoy the malls and luxury hotels that have been photographed by the media.

The report noted that many Arab users of Twitter also criticized the media coverage of the Shalit deal.

“What the shameless media is not telling you is that Gilad Shalit was a corporal in the IDF and was a gunner in a tank,” one user wrote. “Shalit is a prisoner of war while the Palestinian women and children are prisoners of the occupation.”

A Kurdish blogger noted that the media tended to turn to ignore the Arab terrorists freed by Israel.

“They have a face, and among them are also women and children,” she noted. No children are among them, but women murderers are.

Another surfer also addressed the international media and wrote, “Thank you for the precise coverage of Shalit’s release. Can you now provide some information about the Palestinian prisoners?”

Finally, noted Channel 10, the Arab users criticized the controversial interview with Gilad Shalit, that was conducted by Egyptian reporter Shahira Amin just moments after his release. The criticism, however, was not centered on the inappropriate questions she asked the visibly weak Shalit, termed borderline torture by Israeli media, but rather about the fact that Amin chose to interview Gilad in English rather than Arabic.

“Has she forgotten the Arabic language?” wondered one user. Another suggested that “Shalit knows Arabic better than she does.”

Shalit was actually interviewed in Hebrew. The translations, including that of BBC, omitted key phrases he used, such as his predicating his wish to see all Arab prisoners freed on their abandoning their fight against Israel.

Another user focused her criticism on the fact that Amin chose to speak with Shalit and not with one of the terrorists that Israel released.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)