ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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Israeli ‘World War Z’ actress indicted for allegedly cheering Hamas on Instagram

Nazareth court charges Maisa Abd Elhadi with identifying with a terror organization, incitement to terror after posts mocking elderly captive, celebrating security fence breach

Maisa Abd Elhadi in "Tel Aviv on Fire." (Courtesy Cohen Media Group)
Maisa Abd Elhadi in "Tel Aviv on Fire." (Courtesy Cohen Media Group)

Prominent Arab Israeli actress Maisa Abd Elhadi was indicted Sunday after being detained by police last week for allegedly expressing support for Hamas by posting on social media celebrating the terror group’s October 7 massacre.

Abd Elhadi was indicted on charges of identifying with a terror organization and incitement to terror, amid a wide police crackdown on Israelis allegedly expressing support for the attacks online.

Abd Elhadi was released to house arrest on Wednesday by Nazareth District Court Judge Arafat Taha, who said that while her social media posts were harsh, and could cause anger and distress, it was doubtful that she did anything illegal by posting them.

Best known for her role in the 2013 film “World War Z,” as well as several Israeli TV shows, the actress was detained after sharing images on Instagram of Yaffa Adar, 85, being taken hostage by Hamas, along with laughing emojis.

Adar was one of at least 234 Israelis believed to be taken captive by terrorists on October 7 during their murderous rampage through southern Israel.

In a second post, Abd Elhadi shared an image of Hamas forces breaching Israel’s security border, with a caption reading “Let’s go, Berlin style,” in an apparent reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

 

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A post shared by Ofer Shechter (@ofershechter)

The charge sheet filed Sunday noted the posts in question were shared on Abd Elhadi’s Instagram page, which has more than 30,000 followers.

The indictment also accused Abd Elhadi of celebrating the October 7 attack in a WhatsApp group with four of her friends. “Girls, have you heard the good news?” she allegedly messaged, going on to celebrate the attack on the south of Israel, along with the kidnapping of IDF soldiers and “possibly also civilians.”

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel later Sunday asked the Population and Immigration Authority to look into removing Elhadi’s citizenship. It is unclear if Abd Elhadi holds residency rights or citizenship of another country, and whether it would be legally possible for her to be stripped of her Israeli citizenship.

She “expressed words of praise and sympathy for the terrible act of terrorism, the worst in the country’s history, and even ridiculed one of the abductees, an 85-year-old woman who was abducted from her home in Gaza, as detailed in the indictment,” Arbel wrote in a letter to Population Administration Director General Eyal Sisso.

“I would like to request that the legal office be instructed to immediately examine the existence of the conditions for advancing the denial of Israeli citizenship of the accused,” he added. “It is of great importance that this examination be done quickly, to clarify the seriousness of the wrongful acts and how the State of Israel views these acts and its expectations of its citizens.”

Abd Elhadi’s agent has cut ties with her, Channel 12 reported, and last week the HOT cable television company said it removed content featuring the actress from its video-on-demand service. “The actress will not participate in any of the company’s productions in the future, and we expect all production and broadcasting bodies to behave as we do,” HOT said in a statement at the time.

Police say they are taking a zero-tolerance policy toward incitement to violence and support of terrorism.

According to a statement released Friday, over 100 people have been detained and 24 indicted on related charges. Most of the incidents involved Arab Israelis glorifying and praising the Hamas attacks, in which some 1,400 people, most of them civilians, were killed.

On Saturday, an employee at Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital was arrested on suspicion of making racial slurs against Jews. The man, a resident of Rahat in his 20s, posted a video on social media with another hospital worker cursing Jews in Arabic.

Similarly, a delivery driver for supermarket chain Shufersal was arrested Sunday on suspicion of drawing swastikas on packages he delivered to Jerusalem customers. The man, also in his 20s, is a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem.

Gianluca Pacchiani contributed to this report.

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