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The protracted, often bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which broke out into hot war on Oct. 7, 2023, when the militant Palestinian group Hamas launched a deadly attack on Israel and Israel retaliated by bombarding the Gaza Strip, dates back to the early 20th century when British authorities facilitated the mass immigration of Jews to Palestine, and ultimately the forcible displacement of Palestinian Arabs by Zionist militias, to establish a Jewish homeland there. In the current Israel-Hamas war, more than 10,000 civilians, the vast majority of them Palestinians, have been killed since Oct. 7. The internet is rife with war-related misinformation, which Snopes, as always, is dedicated to countering with facts and context. You can help. Read our latest fact checks about the ongoing conflict. Submit questionable rumors you’ve encountered. Become a Snopes Member to support our work. We welcome your participation and feedback.
On Nov. 19, 2023, The Electronic Intifada, an online publication that focuses on Palestinian perspectives, claimed that a video showing Israeli children singing about the “annihilation” of Gaza had been shared, then deleted, on Israeli public broadcaster Kan News’ online platforms.
Titled “Friendship Song,” the video in question featured a group of children reportedly singing in a re-recording of an old song originally written by Israeli poet Haim Gouri after the 1948 war that led to the creation of the state of Israel, but with amended lyrics referring to Gaza. David Sheen, an independent filmmaker and writer, translated these new lyrics for The Electronic Intifada into English from Hebrew. Per his translation, the children sang:
Autumn night falls over the beach of Gaza
Planes are bombing, destruction, destruction
Look the IDF is crossing the line
to annihilate the swastika-bearers
In another year there will be nothing there
And we will safely return to our homes
Within a year we will annihilate everyone
And then we will return to plow our fields
The above video is indeed real and was created by Israeli advocacy group The Civil Front, which frequently does public campaigns to support the Israeli armed forces. The children in the slickly-produced video wore black T-shirts with the same blue logo as that on The Civil Front’s YouTube page.
The video was also available on the group’s YouTube page and was published on Nov. 19, 2023:
After the Oct. 7, 2023, attacks by Hamas in Israel, The Civil Front carried out a billboard campaign in Tel Aviv in order to show support for Israeli soldiers and police officers. Some of the billboards, according to The Jerusalem Post, used AI-generated images of Hamas and Hezbollah leadership showing them beaten and captured by Israeli soldiers.
While the video was not created by Kan News, it was shared on Kan News’ website with the new lyrics before being deleted. The archived link is available here. The same video was shared on Kan News’ X account, @kann_news, before being deleted, but the post remains archived here. While @kann_news has no check mark to signal its authenticity, its content is frequently reposted by the broadcaster’s main X account, @kann. Kan’s official website directly links to the @kann X account.
We ran the lyrics in the archived link through Google Translate and found the translation was very similar to the above lyrics shared by The Electronic Intifada:
Autumn night is falling on the Gaza coast
Planes are shelling, destruction, destruction
Here the IDF is crossing the line
To eliminate the swastika bearers
In another year there will be nothing there
And we will return safely to our home within a year
We will eliminate them all
And then return to plowing our fields
Middle East Eye reported that the new lyrics were co-written by Ofer Rosenbaum, the chairperson of The Civil Front, and Shulamit Stolero (according to the Jewish Press).
Jewish Press, a U.S.-based news organization that describes itself as an “advocate on behalf of the State of Israel,” also covered the removal of the video from Kan News’ platforms. The report claimed that the children in the video ranged from the ages of 6 to 12 years old and were singing an updated version of Gouri’s poem. The children were reportedly among those evacuated “from the Gaza envelope settlements.”
Jewish Press also published its own translation of the lyrics:
On the Gaza beach the autumn night is descending
Planes are bombing, ruin follows ruin
See the IDF crossing the borderline
To annihilate the Swastika carriers
In one more year
There won’t be anything left there
And we’ll return safely to our home
In one more year
We’ll eliminate them all and go back to plowing our fields
The above translations use both “annihilate” and “eliminate” to refer to the destruction of Gaza.
There is no publicly known reason for why Kan News deleted the video, but Electronic Intifada argued, “It is possible that someone there was concerned that it could make the channel complicit in genocide.” Electronic Intifada also noted that Israelis and other users criticized the post. Middle East Eye reported that the posts resulted in many online accusing the news agency of advocating genocide. We have reached out to the network and will update this post if we receive more information.
The Jewish Press was critical of Kan’s decision to remove the video, writing “someone at Kan 11 found the harsh sentiment pronounced by the six girls in the video unacceptable for viewing – by a nation which just watched more than a thousand of its people being raped, beaten, beheaded, and burned alive. So they took it down.”
On Nov. 16, 2023, U.N. experts and scholars said grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians point to a “genocide in the making.”
Abunimah, Ali. “Watch: Israeli Children Sing, ‘We Will Annihilate Everyone’ in Gaza.” The Electronic Intifada, 19 Nov. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
“Gaza: UN Experts Call on International Community to Prevent Genocide against the Palestinian People.” United Nations, 16 Nov. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
Israel, David. “Gaza Envelope Children’s Updated ‘Friendship’ Song Deleted by State TV.” Jewish Press, 20 Nov. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
Narea, Nicole. “How to Think through Allegations of Genocide in Gaza.” Vox, 13 Nov. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
“’Never Again’: Tel Aviv’s Controversial Billboard Campaign.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.Com, 30 Oct. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
PerryCook, Taija. “Timeline: The Oct. 7 Hamas Attack and Israel’s Retaliatory War on Gaza.” Snopes, 20 Nov. 2023, 20 Nov. 2023.
“Video: Israeli Children Sing for ‘annihilation’ of Everyone in Gaza.” Middle East Eye, Accessed 20 Nov. 2023.
רוזנבאום תקשורת – כי נפשנו לא רק הומיה, כי נפשנו היום גם לוחמת. www.youtube.com, Accessed 20 Nov. 2023.
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