Jewish parents in the United States and Israel have been warned to severely restrict their children’s social media access to prevent them from seeing videos uploaded by the terrorist group Hamas that might show hostages begging for their lives.
On Oct. 7, Hamas launched deadly attacks against Israel, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,300 Israelis and 25 Americans, in addition to over 2,000 injured and 150 people held hostage. The assault took place on the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah on Shabbat, catching Israel off guard as over 1,000 Hamas militants breached the Gaza border into Israel in a surprise attack and murdered Israeli civilians and soldiers.
As The Jewish Telegraph Agency reported Tuesday, Israellycool blog founder David Lange, who lives in Israel, shared a message from his daughter’s school on the social media platform x, formerly Twitter, advising parents to delete the TikTok application from their children’s phones.
“Dear parents, we have been informed that videos will be sent soon of our abductees begging for their lives,” Lange shared in the post. “Please remove the TikTok app from the children’s mobile phones. We cannot afford our children to watch this!”
Jewish schools in the United States, such as the Frisch School in New Jersey, have distributed similar messages to parents, according to the outlet. The school’s principal, Rabbi Eli Ciner, released a statement Tuesday, explaining that local psychologists have said that the Israeli government is encouraging students to delete TikTok and Instagram.
“We strongly advise our students to do the same as soon as possible,” the principal stated.
In a Tuesday email to parents, the head of the Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn, New York, Nicole Nash, urged parents to consider restricting their children’s social media access.
“While we understand that we cannot fully prevent our students from viewing images that might appear on their phones, we strongly encourage parents to cultivate honest and open communication with your children about this possibility, monitor their social media usage, and discuss how to avoid opening these videos and what to do should they encounter such media,” Nash told parents in an email.
“We also ask that parents strongly consider asking their children to delete these apps, at least for the time being,” Nash continued.
TikTok and Instagram did not immediately respond to The Christian Post’s request for comment.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that at least 25 Americans were confirmed to be killed in the attacks on Israel by Hamas.
“Tragically, the number of innocent lives claimed by Hamas’s heinous attacks continues to rise,” Blinken said during a press conference in Israel, standing alongside Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Among those, we now know that at least 25 American citizens were killed.”
Blinken added that the “depravity” committed by Hamas militants “almost defies comprehension” and “harkens back to ISIS,” the Islamic State terrorist group.
Following Hamas’ attacks, Israel launched airstrikes against the Gaza Strip and announced it would cut off supplies of food and fuel to eliminate jihadists along the southern border and to encourage civilians to flee the areas being targeted. The Israeli government has also warned its residents to prepare to remain inside bomb shelters for three days and to stock up on food, water and other supplies.
On Tuesday, Hamas called for an “Al-Aqsa Flood Friday” on Oct. 13, according to a translation from the Middle East Media Research Institute. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Hamas has urged militants living in the West Bank to “storm” Jerusalem on Friday.
Earlier this week, Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Qassam Brigades, stated in an audio clip quoted by The Associated Press, that Hamas might start executing hostages in response to the Israeli airstrikes.
“We have decided to put an end to this and as of now, we declare that any targeting of our people in their homes without prior warning will be regrettably faced with the execution of one the hostages of civilians we are holding,” Obeida was quoted as saying.
Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, warned Hamas in a video statement released Monday not to harm any of the hostages, stating, “This war crime will not be forgiven.”
Hamas Deputy Chief Saleh al-Arouri claimed in a statement to Al Jazeera that the terrorist group had enough hostages to force Israel to free every Palestinian in its jails.
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