Israeli Army Enlists Popular 'Bill' Meme for Arabic PR Campaign

Arab surfers not impressed with effort to discourage Palestinian terrorism, calling spokesman a criminal or justifying violent resistance to occupation.

Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron
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A screenshot of Bilal, the new meme created by the IDF Spokesman in Arabic for his Facebook page, Avichay Adraee.
A screenshot of Bilal, the new meme created by the IDF Spokesman in Arabic for his Facebook page, Avichay Adraee.Credit: Screenshot
Oded Yaron
Oded Yaron

Arab surfers were not impressed with the Israeli army’s latest attempt to discourage Palestinians from engaging in terror attacks by using a meme called Bilal, based on the popular "Be Like Bill" meme.

The IDF spokesman in Arabic over the weekend posted two pictures of Bilal, the Arab version of the meme, known in Hebrew as Yosef, in a new PR campaign calling on Palestinians to be like him – not to embark on terror attacks and to aspire to peace.

Maj. Avichai Adraee, the IDF spokesman in Arabic, published a new picture in the familiar format of the meme, and wrote:

“This is Bilal.
Bilal bought a knife.
Bilal doesn’t kill people with the knife.
Bilal bought the knife for his father the butcher.
Bilal is not a terrorist.
Bilal is smart.
Be like Bilal.”

In the accompanying text Adraee wrote: “Anyone living in a civilized world and society doesn’t need this sentence. But unfortunately, we see around us people who use a domestic tool for the purpose of killing and terror.”

Adraee’s Facebook page has over 800,000 followers, most probably from the Arab world, and this status also received a large number of reactions. He received over 4,000 likes, and over 550 shares, but the reactions were not particularly supportive: “This is Avichai. Avichai is an exceptional criminal. Avichai incites and murders. Don’t be like Avichai because he’s a criminal,” was one of the responses, which received over 1,000 likes.

“Blach is a Jew who comes in peace, Blach doesn’t occupy the land of others,” was another reaction. “Blach has respect and knows that anyone who knocks on the door of others will have people knock on his door too. Blach is well raised and wants to return to his original homeland, the place from which he came. Blach wants to enable the Palestinians to live in peace on their land. Ya Avichai, be like Blach.”

Another wrote: “Bilal saw the army murder his sister
Bilal can’t live with the sight of a girl from his village murdered at the checkpoint
Bilal held a knife and went to carry out an attack on a Zionist bus
Bilal killed three soldiers and took revenge against the person who harmed the honor of his existence
Bilal was detained and arrested but brought pride to his family and his friends
Bilal is a hero
Be like Bilal.”

In another post written by Adraee:
“This is Bilal
Bilal wants to be famous and dreams of receiving a Nobel Peace Prize
Bilal is not a terrorist
Bilal is smart
Be like Bilal”

This post received the following response: “We left the Nobel Peace Prize to those who wrote flyers to the children of the Palestinians about their terror missiles. Bilal is from Gaza. Bilal is a member of the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Bilal gives it to the mother of the occupying army and fires on Tel Aviv. Be smart, be like Bilal.”

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