False Stories about Israel’s Gaza War and Social Media Debunked

Videos of Israel Go Viral

Amid the barrage of disturbing images from Israel’s Gaza war, one image — of a supposed corpse that mysteriously moved — went viral. But it was a fake.

This is the latest in a series of false stories that have been shared on social media platforms such as TikTok and X (formerly known as Twitter). USA TODAY has debunked some of them.

Israel’s Modern History

Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, was founded in 1948. Jews fleeing persecution in Europe wanted a national homeland in what they called Eretz Yisrael, or “the Land of Israel.” The land that is now Israel had been occupied by Arabs for centuries and the two sides have fought several wars over it.

In 1949, the state established public schools. Earlier, immigrants had attended private Zionist institutions or transit camps. The new system was based on a party-affiliated education and included secular subjects for non-Orthodox Jews.

In 1984, continued discrimination against Sephardi Ultra-Orthodox Jews led political activist Aryeh Deri to leave the Haredi Agudat Israel party and form Shas, a new party aimed at attracting Sephardi votes. In the same year, the covert airlift of Ethiopian Jews began. The next year, Israel’s currency was stabilized by an austerity programme and the New Israeli Shekel replaced the old shekel. The same year, a nuclear technician named Mordechai Vanunu reveals details of the country’s nuclear program to British newspapers.

The Israel Collective

In a society that is rooted in collective identity, such as Israel’s, the erosion of ideological commitments and orientations presents an acute danger. The collapse of collective identity can take many forms, but one of the most troubling is a fracturing of communal commitments in the central symbolic sphere.

As with most modern ideological societies, collective identities face serious challenges to their stability and integrity. These challenges can manifest in two broad ways: a narrowing of broader cultural and social orientations, and the development of cleavages and conflict within the central symbolic sphere.

The slaughter of children is an especially disturbing development, evoking collective Jewish memories of pogroms and the Holocaust, as well as the perceived attempt to annihilate the Jews’ national existence in their homeland. It is a clear violation of international humanitarian law and war crimes, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad should immediately release the civilian hostages. Moreover, they should allow them to communicate with their families and to be visited by an impartial humanitarian agency.


Christians United for Israel provides a national platform for pro-Israel churches, parachurch groups and ministries to speak with one voice on Biblical issues. Its annual Washington Summit features a day of lobbying during which hundreds of CUFI members meet with their representatives and staffers. It also operates nationwide ‘Nights to Honor Israel’, a student wing called CUFI on Campus and a television show called The Watchman.

Like the Falwell-affiliated Christian Broadcasting Network, CUFI has long promoted the idea that God only supports the US and Israel because they are necessary for the end times and the coming of the Christian messiah. Despite this, CUFI downplays the apocalyptic strand of its movement.

CUFI is also heavily involved in the fight against BDS on university campuses. However, as Elizabeth Philips has argued, this activism is heavily shaped by the organization’s own theological beliefs and apocalyptic interpretation of the Bible. It is not, as CUFI claims, a grassroots movement of ordinary Christians.

Pastor John Hagee

Like many evangelical Christians, Hagee supports Israel. But he’s louder than most: He heads up Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the country. And so it was no surprise that he spoke at a march “for Israel, to free the hostages and against antisemitism.”

Hagee has made headlines before for his support of far-right conspiracy theories—in particular, the theory that Jews control the Federal Reserve and will bring on the Apocalypse. But his support for Israel is the main reason he’s such a powerful figure in American evangelical circles.

While Hagee’s saxophone has long played an important role in his church—he and his family perform as the Hagee Family Singers—he now says he’s focused on “ministering God’s love to others.” He and his wife founded Cornerstone Christian Schools, which offers a fully accredited, premiere college preparatory education to students from K4 through 12. But it is his pro-Israel activism that continues to get the most attention.

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