Nate Buzolic is on his 26th trip to Israel, and like everyone else in the country right now the Australian actor has a mission. His is focused primarily on changing the Israeli image online.
“I’ve seen Israel’s failed attempts to try and stand up against the lies and propaganda of Hamas,” said Buzolic. “I think Israel’s been on the defensive for so long — as opposed to the offensive — online.”
Buzolic has been actively engaging in Palestinian-Israeli social media battles since 2021, and now he’s formed Rova Media with Dan Luxenberg, whose SoulShop firm creates faith-driven content.
Along with Rabbi Ari Lamm, grandson of former Yeshiva University chancellor Rabbi Norman Lamm, they plan on creating engaging media for the younger generation “being seduced by what’s out there,” said Buzolic.
Buzolic, known as Natebuzz on his Instagram account, has 3.4 million followers. Rova Media has drawn 18,300 since being formed a few weeks ago.
With 15.2 million Jews in the world and 1.9 billion Muslims, “most people have never met a Jew or know what Israel is about,” said Buzolic. “So we say, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to make you choose a side but here’s information about what this really looks like.'”
Buzolic landed in Israel 11 days ago and hit the ground running, helping out at various Israeli volunteering initiatives, going south to the devastated communities, and, throughout, posting it all online.
It’s a far different kind of visit from his first in 2017, when Buzolic was in Iraq volunteering at a number of refugee camps for those fleeing the Islamic State terror group and received what he describes as “a call from God” to go to Israel and see it with his own eyes.
Buzolic, 40, a born-again Christian, had grown up in what he describes as a “very Islamic community” in Sydney, where he learned a different narrative about Israel and the Jewish people.
That first trip changed his perspective and he ended up returning three times within the year.
By his fifth trip, he was bringing others with him, including pastors and Christians. This past April, Buzolic led a group of 50 people on a trip here.
This visit, however, offers an entirely different perspective, even for Buzolic.
He describes seeing and hearing stories of the “height of human wickedness,” referring to the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists on October 7 in the Gaza border communities and towns. He also says he has “met heroes, people willing to lay down their lives to defend others,” referring to Ronen, featured in the Instagram post below.
“It’s been the greatest contrast of my life,” he said, “whether it’s people who held their bomb shelter doors shut while being shot at by Hamas or defending the police station in Sderot. It’s everyday Israelis, everyday Jews, who have stood up and said ‘no.'”
Asked why he feels such an intense connection to Israel and its people, Buzolic, who discovered his faith at age 27, says he’s convinced that Jesus is the messiah and is coming back to give the Jewish people hope so that they can see that God has not forsaken them.
“They’re tired, they’re sick of it, they’re sick of having to justify their existence,” he said.
As he continues to demonstrate his commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, Buzolic says he receives death threats, as well as a lot of “hate and violence,” in his social media feeds.
Buzolic isn’t interested in trying to change the minds of those who hate Jews, he said.
“My next-door neighbors, who are Lebanese and Palestinian, tell me how deluded I am,” he said. “I speak to the people in the middle, I’m trying to shift them.”
Buzolic, along with Luxenberg and Lamm, hopes to grow Rova Media as a resource.
“One thing I’ve learned about the pro-Palestinian narrative is they just have content, no context,” he said. “We want to provide context for the content we’re providing.”