Two Arab teens arrested over Facebook incitement

Two 15-year-old Arabs from eastern Jerusalem arrested for inciting violence and terrorism on Facebook.

Ido Ben Porat,

Police officers in eastern Jerusalem
Police officers in eastern Jerusalem
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Two 15-year-old Arabs from eastern Jerusalem were arrested on Sunday for inciting violence and terrorism on Facebook. One of them was indicted.

The Jerusalem police began investigating the two teenagers two weeks ago, after they received information that their Facebook page contained incitement to violence and terrorism.

In addition to spreading incitement on their Facebook page, the two teenagers operated a Facebook page entitled “Baha Alyan”, named after the terrorist who murdered three Jews in an attack on a bus in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood a year ago.

The content published by the two included praise for terrorists, videos encouraging terrorist activities, documentation of security forces in neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem and more.

The Facebook page attracted tens of thousands of followers who watched the inciting content, expressed support and even disseminated the contents and forwarded them to other Facebook users.

As part of the investigation, another suspect, a 32-year-old Arab from eastern Jerusalem, was arrested as well.

"The Israel Police is constantly working to detect prominent distributors of incitement, those who praise terrorists who carried out attacks and encourage others to follow suit, and works together with the State Attorney's Office to arrest them and stop the incitement," the Jerusalem police said.

Many of the terrorist attacks carried out against Israelis over the past year have been connected with online terrorism.

This past year, Israel filed 158 requests to remove inciting content on Facebook, and 13 requests to YouTube (owned by Google).

Around 95% of the requested content was removed from Facebook, while YouTube agreed to remove 80% of the content.

Facebook, Twitter and Google have been facing a concerted campaign by Jewish and pro-Israel activists, to take action against anti-Semitic incitement. Activists and terror victims’ rights campaigners allege the companies are turning a blind eye to the torrent of hate which helps inspire deadly terrorism in Israel.