Elon Musk arrived in Israel on Monday for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog as the billionaire faces intensifying pressure over antisemitic posts on Twitter since he took over the social media platform.
Musk Tours Hamas Attack Site with Netanyahu
Musk’s trip coincides with Israel’s efforts to prevent a recurrence of fighting with Palestinian militants in Gaza. On Monday morning, Musk toured areas around the Gaza Strip devastated by fighting in recent months. He visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza, an Israeli community just across the border that was overwhelmed by Palestinian rocket fire during a flareup in August.
The visit came as Musk continues to face accusations that he has allowed antisemitic content to flourish on Twitter since he completed his $44 billion takeover in late October. Musk has described himself as a "free speech absolutist" and believes all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter.
During the tour, Netanyahu showed Musk a video apparently showing a speech by a senior Hamas official. "Propaganda that incites murder must be stopped," Musk said.
Musk also met with families of two Israeli civilians held captive by Hamas in Gaza. He told them that he sympathizes with their situation and that "it seems impossible, but there is always hope."
| Key Figures |
| Elon Musk | Billionaire CEO of Tesla, SpaceX; new owner of Twitter |
| Benjamin Netanyahu | Israel’s Prime Minister |
| Isaac Herzog | Israel’s President |
Musk Agrees to Provide Starlink in Palestine, Gaza with Israeli Approval
Musk also held talks with Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on providing his satellite internet firm Starlink’s services in the occupied West Bank and blockaded Gaza Strip. Starlink would require Israeli permission to operate in both territories.
Shaked said Musk told her he wanted to personally help Gaza residents who have struggled under years of conflict, blockade and infrastructure issues that limit their internet access.
However, Shaked said Starlink internet service in Gaza would not happen without Israeli security approval. Israel maintains tight controls on communications equipment allowed in Gaza, which has been ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas since 2007.
Hamas spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Israel Seeks Starlink Capabilities Amid Iran Threat
In September 2022, Musk activated Starlink satellite broadband service in Iran as anti-government protests rocked the country. Activists and journalists used it to livestream protests and share images banned from Iran state TV.
Israel is also interested in tapping into Starlink capabilities. With arch-enemy Iran improving its missile technology, Israel is studying how Starlink services could boost early warning systems designed to alert citizens of incoming attacks.
Most Starlink terminals operated worldwide are made by SpaceX. Some can control antennas using motors and consume over 100 watts of power, more than enough for mobile military units.
Musk Faces Advertiser Exodus, Antisemitism Criticism
Even before the latest antisemitism uproar, Musk had strained relationships with other Twitter advertisers by laying off half the company’s 7,500 employees and drastically changing content moderation policies.
His tweet last month about his political affiliations – "I’m center/moderate, so neither fully Republican nor Democrat" also drew widespread criticism. Most Democratic legislators stopped using Twitter due to what they termed Musk’s "dangerous" hands-off content policies.
Musk continues struggling to retain advertisers while tweeting controversial political takes. He polls his followers on key platform issues instead of consulting civil rights groups.
Last Friday, Musk tweeted a conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul before deleting it. He also argued with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who posted that Billionaires shouldn’t face reduced Federal Tax rates on stock gains.
On Sunday, Musk tweeted an image suggesting fairness means "both sides" get equal resources, even if one side has many more members. Critics blasted this "false equivalency" between marginalized groups and their powerful institutional opponents.
What’s Next? Regulatory Scrutiny, Trump’s Twitter Return
Musk may soon face heightened regulatory scrutiny over Twitter operations and transparency. The pressure comes as more companies pause advertising and extremist content spikes.
Allowing Donald Trump back on the platform also looms as an issue. Trump was banned following the Jan 2021 Capitol riots for risk of "incitement to violence". If Musk lets Trump resume tweeting, it could alienate more moderate users and strain Twitter’s relations with democracies worldwide.
For now Musk is tweeting about his Israel visit, reaffirming ties between innovative tech firms and America’s top Mideast ally while exploring regional tensions. But Twitter’s growing content moderation crisis seems certain to occupy more of his time once he returns to the USA.
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