On July 10th, David Sheen, a staff writer at Muftah.org, entered the search term "Aravim" (or Arab, in Hebrew) on Twitter. What he found was disturbing: Teenagers, making duck faces, posing for scantily-clad selfies and calling for the deaths (often painful) of Arabs everywhere.
While we often hear about death tolls and bombings in the news, it's not as often that we are given a glimpse of how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is affecting the younger generations, those that are on social media and are about to enter the Israeli army. As a Jew, and as someone who has been raised to always support Israel (which, according to my parents, is my spiritual home, although I have never been), it's hard to look at these tweets (and their accompanying pictures and Twitter avatars) and not feel a mixture of sadness, shame, disgust, and also sympathy. Because the views these teenagers hold aren't just personal, they're endemic.
Here are just some of the tweets Sheen translated:
Of course, the tweets from the other side of the aisle aren't much less violent (a quick search for the term Yahood leads to statements about throwing rocks and burning Israelis), but the point here isn't so much the message as much as the way it is presented. Duck faces and death threats should never be paired (doesn't one cancel out the other?). Yes ,these are teenagers, but they're also tomorrow's soldiers and while it's easy to write thes photos off as the stupid antics of kids who don't know better, it's hard to ignore the blitheness with which they pair bikini shots with the words "death to all Arabs.