A group identifying itself as the “Gaza Hacker Team” hijacked the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s website on Sunday, replacing the religious authority’s homepage with a message calling for the release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Invoking the name of “Allah the Lord of mujahideen and martyrs,” the hackers broke into the Rabbinate’s website as part of a war they say they’ll wage “until the last Zionist remains on the beloved land of Palestine.”
A banner sprawled across the top of the hacked website with an image of Palestinians behind bars wearing Israel Prison Service jumpsuits. Below the glum-faced prisoners was scrawled in Arabic, “The strike continues… until dignity, pride and respect.”
The website, which ordinarily provides information for government-provided religious services, sported a black background on which the hackers wrote “a message for all Jewses [sic]” in English.
“Your safety and security are linked to the safety of Palestinian captives whose [sic] on hunger strike You [sic] must responds [sic] to their demands soon. Otherwise, let you wait [sic] the Palestinian missiles if anyone of the Palestinian captives was in bad healthy situation [sic],” the hackers wrote.
The hackers also wrote in Arabic, “One is wrong to fight a war he can avoid, but one is more wrong if he doesn’t fight a war that was forced upon him… And if your freedom of speech is uncontrolled… so your chest should be wide for the freedom of our actions.”
Sketches of four Palestinian prisoners, identified as Samer al-Barq, Hasan al-Safadi, Ayman Sharawna, and Samer al-Issawi, were posted along with their respective days on hunger strike.
Al-Barq and al-Safadi ended their months-long hunger strikes less than an hour after the message was planted on the Rabbinate website, Palestinian Ma’an News reported. Al-Barq had been on hunger strike for approximately four months and ended it after being informed he would be exiled to Egypt as part of a deal with Israel, according to his lawyer.
Al-Safadi, who had been striking for over three months, ended his strike after being informed he would be released at the end of his administrative detention in October.
Sharawna has refused food since July 1 and al-Issawi has been on strike since August 1.
The Gaza Hacker Team provided a link to Zone-H’s cyber crime archive as a means of sporting its street cred in the cyber-jihad against Israel. According to the archive, the Gaza Hacker Team was responsible for at least 1,726 cyber attacks since January 2011, mostly against Israeli, French and American websites.
Cyber attacks against Israeli websites are regular occurrences. Speaking at the annual meeting of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies in August, Israel Electric Company director Yiftach Ron-Tal said Israel is attacked 1,000 times a minute by cyber-terrorists targeting the country’s infrastructure — water, electricity, communications, and other important services.