TEL AVIV – A former Israeli soldier who immigrated from the U.S. has received death threats from all over the world after pro-Palestinian social media pages falsely accused her of shooting dead a Palestinian medic during violent riots along the Gaza border.
A photo of Rebecca, whose last name is bein withheld, during her service four years ago was circulated by the “Freedom for Gaza” Facebook page, which has more than 100,000 followers, alongside the claim that she “executed a 21-year-old Palestinian nurse in Gaza.”
The death of Razan Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic, has prompted a call for vengeance from Palestinians. The IDF said it launched an inquiry into her death, which occurred while “thousands of rioters” were around her “burning tires adjacent to the security fence, and attempting to damage security infrastructure.”
What is clear, however, is that the sniper responsible for Najjar’s death cannot be Rebecca, who was released from the army in 2016.
Nevertheless, shares of the post reached the tens of thousands and within a day was translated into several languages.
“I opened my phone after Shabbat, and there were hundreds of messages from people on Facebook, and all my friends had messaged me on WhatsApp because they’d been getting these hate messages all weekend,” Rebecca, a religious Jew, told the Times of Israel.
She was forced to shut down her Instagram page, which was filled with “terrible comments,” she said.
“It just kept going,” she added.
She informed the police of the threats. After initially being frightened, she said she now feels sad that tens of thousands of people around the world “were so eager to believe something that’s a lie and to put so much hate out there,” she said.
“I’m sad that my friends and family have been threatened and that in the world of social media, there’s no way to protect yourself from falling victim to threats and lies,” she added.
“I’m not political, but I do what I can to get to know all the ‘narratives,’ and this kind of propaganda only impedes any opportunity for peace,” she said.
“I never knew how bad it gets.”
At first, Rebecca also shut down her Facebook page but reopened it after she was told by an officer from the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit that there was no risk to her safety.
She was encouraged by the IDF spokeswoman to make a video in response to the claim.
In the video, Rebecca said the “Freedom for Gaza” post has “led to hundreds of hate messages and death threats to my life and my friends’ life.”
She also said that if the Facebook page was really concerned about the plight of Gazans, it would encourage protests against Hamas.
As news emerged that the claims about Rebecca were false, the Freedom for Gaza page edited its post adding an update to say “whether it was this sniper or another one, does it really matter? They are ALL killing innocent Palestinian men, women and children.”
“I’m waiting to hear back from the police, but other than that, I’m just waiting for it to blow over,” she said. “There’s not much that I can do besides that.”