TEL AVIV – Israel’s Public Security Minister has demanded that Google and Apple remove a “false and aggressive” game app which he claims endangers the lives of IDF soldiers by encouraging players to kill them.
In “Liyla and the Shadows of War,” available on Google Play and the Apple App store, players take on the role of a Palestinian girl in Gaza during Israel’s 2014 war with ruling terror group Hamas.
Gilad Erdan, who is leading the government’s crusade to force social media giants like Facebook into removing alleged terror-inciting posts, says he has yet to receive a response from Google or Apple.
The free app, developed by Gaza resident Rasheed Abueideh, calls the 50-day summer conflict known as Operation Protective Edge “an unjust war.”
The accompanying description maintains that Israel’s “shooting and bombing” mean that “death is hunting everyone” and “your family is in danger and there is nowhere to hide.”
“These events are real and they will make you choose the hard way. Live or die!” the description reads, adding that your task is to survive the “shadows of the evil.”
On his site, Abueideh states that the game is “based on actual events; it tells a story of a little girl liv[ing] in Gaza during the war in 2014.”
It’s not just a game. It’s a case and call for help. I’m a father of two kids, I can’t imagine my life without them, but in Palestine nobody is safe. When the war started in Gaza and I saw the images of the killed kids in their parents’ hands I was shocked; I had a weird feeling; it’s a combination of sadness, fear, empathy and anger, All what I [sic] was thinking of is, “What if this happened to me?” I have chosen to share those feelings in a game to deliver a message of how we are living as Palestinians under this situation.
However, the Apple App Store does not mention Gaza or the 50-day summer conflict. Apple reportedly initially informed its Palestinian developer that due to its political nature, the app would be disqualified as a “game” and suggested that it be placed in the “news” category, The Algemeiner reported citing Walla News. A protest on social media ensued and Apple eventually relented.
The app has been downloaded 100,000 times and has received 18,649 five-star ratings out of a total of 21,284. It also claims to have bagged the Reboot Develop Indie Award in “Visual Excellence” and nominations for Indie prizes “Best in Show & Most Innovative Game” and “Best Game Narrative.”