The Shmooze

I Got Text From Hamas — in Broken Hebrew

By Ben Sales

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(JTA) — I just got a text from someone who’s trying to blow me up.

“The stupidity of your leaders put all of Israel under fire, and forced all the Israelis to go into shelters,” it said, sent by a user named SMSQASSAM. “We will continue bombing every place in Israel until they answer all of our legitimate claims with total affirmation.”

It was signed, “The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades,” Hamas’ militia.

Hamas is texting me. Awesome.

This isn’t the first time. Hamas has hacked Israeli phones several times during this and other times of conflict, sending messages to tens of thousands of Israelis.

I don’t know for sure if I can credit Hamas with this, but a text I got Friday from someone named SHABAK informed me that a “Suicide bomber sneaked into Tel Aviv and Center targeting shelters. Beware of strangers in shelters.”

Leaving aside how one suicide bomber could target more than one bomb shelter, I’m guessing that text wasn’t from the Israel Security Agency, called the Shabak. Maybe it was from Hamas.

Two days earlier, I got a text from a user named “Haaretz” informing me that rockets had hit Haifa. They hadn’t. The Haaretz newspaper sent out an email titled “URGENT CLARIFICATION” telling us that “The message was not from Haaretz.”

Was it from Hamas?

I’m not going to respond; I’m not the biggest fan of text-messages. I prefer phone conversations, even if they’re short. But I’m not going to call Hamas, and judging from this past week, it’s probably not going to call me. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what it writes me next.

Hamas has targeted many Israelis with a spate of threatening Hebrew-language text messages. But one recipient — Elizabeth Tsurkov, who works for the Israeli NGO Hotline for Refugees and Migrants — is taking issue not just with the messages’ content, but their grammar.

In a Twitter exchange with @qassamhebrew, which identifies itself as the military arm of Hamas, Tsurkov pointed out a missing definite article and an incorrectly gendered verb, concluding, “The Hebrew in your texts is often pretty poor and therefore isn’t very frightening.”

In a Facebook post where she linked to and posted the Twitter exchange, Tsurkov wrote in Hebrew, “This seems to be my best trolling ever.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: social media, hebrew, hamas, gaza, elizabeth tsurkov

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