Emirati and Arab Israeli leverage their large social media followings to advocate for Jewish State and change the Arab world’s perception of Israel.
By World Israel News Staff
As photos of fast cars, delicious meals, and dreamy vacations rack up likes on Instagram, two Arab influencers with tens of thousands of followers have decided to show their audiences something markedly different: their love for Israel.
Loay Alshareef, an Emirati based in Abu Dhabi, and Yosef Haddad, an Arab Israeli from Nazareth, are leveraging their large following on social media to display a different reality of Israel that’s specifically aimed at winning over the hearts and minds of Arabic speakers across the globe.
“I was educated on the false perception of Israel as a Jewish apartheid state, one that does not grant Arabs their rights,” Alshareef told Israel Hayom.
“The dramatic turning point for me happened in 2010, when I was exposed to the completely different truth. The truth will set you free!”
Alshareef said he lived with a Jewish family in France while studying abroad, and the experience left him forever changed. During his time with the family, he learned about the shared Biblical and religious heritage of Jews and Muslims.
He noted that for the first time, he “was exposed to the Jews’ historic ties to the region, which is a settled fact and not the lie that they are colonizers. I changed my opinion about the Jews.”
He added that he also learned that Israel “allows freedom of religion for those living there.”
Eventually, Alshareef partnered with longtime pro-Israel advocate Yosef Haddad, a veteran of the 2006 Lebanon war who is an Arab Israeli from Nazareth.
Haddad was one of Israel’s earliest Arab supporters, and has been vocal about his pride in both being an Israeli citizen and his Arab heritage – something that had previously been thought of as impossible by the Arab world at large.
Alshareef told Israel Hayom that he is friends with “a lot of Arab Israel, among them Muslims, Christians, and Druze, who are proud of their Israeliness. In contrast, the fact that there are still Arab Israelis with Israeli citizenship who accuse Israel of war crimes against the Palestinians and are not loyal to it is inconceivable to my mind.”
“They, alongside the Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda are part of the problem, concealing the truth, which is the complete opposite. To our delight, we now have social media, and the Association of Gulf Jewish Communities in particular, that are helping create a new reality for Jews who live in the [Arab] Gulf.”
Both men said they hope that speaking out in support of Israel on social media will help connect Israel further to its neighbors, strengthen ties in the region, and change Arab perception about the Jewish State.