Why Has Arab-Israeli Actor Maisa Abdel Hadi Been Arrested? Explained

Maisa Abdel Hadi is in custody on the suspicion of “incitement to terrorism”.

Arab-Israeli actress Maisa Abdel Hadi was arrested by police for allegedly expressing support for Hamas’ attack on Israel. She has been taken into custody on the suspicion of “incitement to terrorism” over a social media post, police and her lawyer said Tuesday. She is one of several Arab Israelis imprisoned because of social media remarks about the ongoing conflict. 

Social Media Post

The 37-year-old actress has starred in various Israeli shows, the Hollywood blockbuster “World War Z,” and, most recently, the British television series “Baghdad Central.” Ms Hadi posted a picture of a bulldozer breaching the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel during the October 7 attack. “Let’s go Berlin-style,” she wrote in a caption in reference to the fall of the Berlin Wall that partitioned Germany until 1989. As per the Times of Israel, the actress also shared images of 85-year-old woman Yaffa Adar who was taken hostage by Hamas with laughing emojis. 

Police And Lawyer’s Reaction

The outlet stated that police confirmed the arrest of “an actress and network influencer, resident of the city of Nazareth, on suspicion of expressions of praise [for terror] and hate speech”. However, she has not been named. The statement added, “The police fight against incitement and support for terrorism continues all the time. 

Ms Hadi’s attorney Jaafar Farah, who also works as the Director of the Human Rights Association Mousawa, told news agency AFP, “She is accused of supporting terrorism.”

The actress was also slammed on social media by her Israeli co-star Ofer Shechter. He said in a post, “I’m ashamed of you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You live in Nazareth, act and star in our TV shows and films, and then stab us in the back.”

Similar Cases

Dalal Abu Amneh, a singer and influencer from Nazareth, was also held in police custody for two days before being released on bail, as per a report in BBC. She was accused of  “disruptive behaviour” as her posts could incite violence among her followers, the police said. She had shared a photograph of the Palestinian flag with the Arabic phrase “There is no victor but God.” Her lawyer claims that the artist, recognised throughout the Arab world for her songs on Palestinian history, was expressing a religious sentiment. However, he added that her post was interpreted by Israeli officials as a call to arms for Palestinians. She was later put under house arrest.

Members of Israel’s Arab minority and Palestinians in east Jerusalem, according to rights activists and Israeli police, have been fired, expelled from colleges, and jailed for expressing solidarity with Gaza residents since the beginning of Israel’s war against Hamas. Israeli Arabs make up about one-fifth of the Israeli population. As per the BBC, the police have investigated and detained more than 100 people for their social media activity since the October 7 attack. 

Israel’s Police Commissioner, Yaakov Shabtai, in a meeting with senior leaders, said,  “Anyone inciting against the State of Israel, its government symbols, elected officials, military personnel and police, should be aware that the Israel Police will respond firmly and without leniency.”

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