Gal Gadot has dedicated her social media accounts to supporting the people of Israel, amid her native country’s conflict with Hamas.
Militants fighting for Hamas stormed into Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200, according to figures from the Israeli military. Hamas said the surprise attack was retribution for worsening conditions for Palestinians under Israeli occupation.
Israel has subsequently carried out attacks against Hamas, launching “Operation Swords of Iron.” Israel has been pummeling the sealed-off and densely populated Gaza Strip with airstrikes. Israel has also stopped entry of food, fuel and medicine into Gaza, worsening the humanitarian conditions in the tiny territory of 2.3 million people.
On Tuesday night, there was an explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Health Ministry, led by Hamas, said some 500 people—many of them displaced under an Israeli evacuation order—were killed in the explosion.
Palestinian militants and officials said the cause was an Israeli airstrike, while Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed an errant rocket fired from Gaza by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.
Before the hospital blast, at least 1,400 Israelis and at least 2,778 Palestinians had been killed, according to figures from The Associated Press. Nearly 200 people were taken hostage in the October 7 attack.
Amid the ongoing conflict, Wonder Woman star Gadot has dedicated her social media feeds to highlighting the plight of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas.
Following the initial attacks, Gadot took to Instagram, where she posted a photo of the Star of David, under which sat the statement: “I stand with Israel.”
“I stand with Israel you should too,” the Wonder Woman star captioned the image. “The world cannot sit on the fence when these horrific acts of terror are happening!”
Since then, Gadot’s platform has featured several posts regarding the Israelis taken hostage, with the hashtags “#ReleaseTheHostages” and “#BringThemBack.”
The screen star, who has more than 109 million followers on Instagram, has been praised for her efforts. “Using your platform of 109 MILLION to be a voice for your people. Gal we will always remember this,” wrote on Instagram user.
However, many others have responded to Gadot’s posts with a flood of “Free Palestine” comments. “What you think about Palestine?” asked one Instagram user.
Gadot is yet to provide an answer to that comment, opting instead to direct her focus on the plight of the scores of Israelis who have been taken by militants.
Her silence on Palestinians could well stem from the fact that she actually did address them days into the conflict, only to face a wave of criticism.
“Killing innocent Palestinians is horrific. Killing innocent Israelis is horrific,” Gadot wrote in an Instagram Story post. “If you don’t feel the same, I think should ask yourself why that is.”
The post caught the attention of Israeli TV host and commentator Ofira Asayag, who shared a screenshot of the star’s comments on her own Instagram account.
“Gal Gadot, you deleted your post. Well done,” Asayag wrote, per Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “I’ve held myself back from answering you several times because you’re concernedaout your income and career, and that’s fine. But this time, you’ve crossed the line.”
“Come see the fields filled with headless babies, murdered girls, dead soldiers and grieving families. Those who’ve attacked us are cruel and hate Israel,” Asayag added. “Keep quiet, it’s better for all of us. You live in some Hollywood movie, and whenever you feel like it, you’re Israeli again.”
Responding to the criticism, Gadot reportedly wrote: “Ofira, my love, I am sorry if my words were not understood in the way that I meant them. All I want is to speak out for Israel in the world and to show the horrors that we are experiencing and to help obtain worldwide support in the face of our critics.
“I will continue to do whatever I can in order to make Israel’s outcry heard everywhere. My heart is bleeding and I am beside myself with sorrow over what is happening.”
Newsweek has contacted a representative of Gadot via email for comment.
Back in 2021, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s son, Yair Netanyahu, criticized Gadot for posting a “neutral” message about the conflict in Gaza. After Gadot said in a statement that Israel “deserves to live as a free and safe nation, our neighbors deserve the same,” the younger Netanyahu said that her post read “as if she was from Switzerland.”
Given the recent backlash that celebrities like Amy Schumer and Mia Khalifa have faced in light on their social media posts regarding the war, it would perhaps be deemed wise that public figures are cautious about the opinions they share.
Evan Nierman, CEO of global PR firm Red Banyan, told Newsweek that the backlash certain celebrities have faced for their war-related posts reflects a wider social issue.
Nierman, author of The Cancel Culture Curse, added that Schumer’s critics are ultimately “a group of nameless, faceless online keyboard crusaders, who love to attack anyone and everyone—but especially celebrities and people who have higher profile and more impactful lives than their own, to get into the conversation to make themselves relevant. And it’s ad hominem attacks.
“So whether it’s Amy Schumer or another celebrity, this is what social media has devolved into. A bloodsport of criticism and venom.”