Fact Check

Israeli National Security Minister Posted About Hamas Loving Biden?

The U.S. president considered halting arms transfers in May 2024 in opposition to Israel’s attack on Rafah.

Published May 10, 2024

 (DedaSasha/Wikimedia Commons)
Image courtesy of DedaSasha/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
On May 9, 2024, Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir posted on X, "Hamas ❤️ Biden."

In May 2024, as U.S. President Joe Biden considered halting weapons transfers to Israel amid the country's long-threatened assault on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, a post on X by the Israeli national security minister generated controversy. 

On May 9, 2024, a number of people posted screenshots of an X post, purportedly by Israel's Itamar Ben-Gvir, responding to Biden's warning about halting arms shipments by writing "Hamas ❤️Biden." 

One post on X said, "Itamar Ben Gvir's morning message to President Biden 💀(Seriously, not a parody; posted on his official account moments ago)." 

The above screenshots were indeed real. Ben-Gvir's official X account posted the above message and numerous Israeli and international media outlets reported on it. As such we rate this claim as "Correct Attribution."

Ben-Gvir's X account posted "Hamas ❤️Biden" as seen on X here and archived here. He appeared to be using the heart emoji to say "Hamas loves Biden." Hamas is the militant group that governs the Gaza Strip.


(X user @itamarbengvir)

While the above account is verified by a blue check mark, which is a paid feature and not an identity verification feature, a number of news publications confirmed the account belonged to Ben-Gvir.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on the X post, noting that Ben-Gvir was part of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party. A number of Israeli politicians criticized him for the post, with some calling for his firing, according to The Times of Israel. Opposition leader Yair Lapid excoriated Ben-Gvir for the post, accusing him of harming any remaining support from the U.S. for Israel. 

"If [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] does not fire Ben-Gvir today, he is endangering every soldier in the IDF and every citizen in the State of Israel," Lapid said

Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the post "childish" and "infantile." In response, Ben-Gvir's account shared a screenshot of Bennett's 2022 tweet announcing the approval of permits for Palestinians to work in Israel, and wrote, "Don't go out into the sun Naftali, you've got a lot of butter on your head" — an apparent reference to the former prime minister being bald — according to a translation by The Times of Israel. Ben-Gvir appeared to insinuate that Bennett bore part of the responsibility for Hamas' Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel. 

Biden had told CNN on May 8, 2024, "Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers. … I made it clear that if they go into Rafah … I'm not supplying the weapons that have been historically used to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities."

Biden withheld an arms shipment a week earlier in a bid to prevent those weapons from being used by Israel in Rafah. By May 10, 2024, Israeli troops had encircled the eastern part of Rafah, with residents describing almost constant gunfire and explosions in the east and northeast part of the city. A U.N. official said more than 100,000 people have fled Rafah. Dwindling food and fuel supplies would result in hospitals shutting down and more malnutrition among the population, according to the U.N

Sources

Al-Mughrabi, Nidal. "Hamas Says Gaza Ceasefire Efforts Are Back at Square One." Reuters, 10 May 2024. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israeli-tanks-encircle-eastern-half-rafah-2024-05-10/. Accessed 10 May 2024.

Baker, Peter. "Biden Puts Arms Shipment to Israel on Hold Amid Dispute Over Rafah Attack." The New York Times, 8 May 2024. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/07/us/politics/israel-biden-arms.html. Accessed 10 May 2024.

"Ben Gvir Hammered by President, Opposition over 'Hamas <3 Biden' Tweet." Times of Israel, 9 May 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/ben-gvir-hammered-by-president-opposition-over-hamas/. Accessed 10 May 2024.

"Ben Gvir Points Finger at Former PM Bennett for Approving Work Permits for Gazans in 2022." The Times of Israel, 10 May 2024, https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/ben-gvir-points-finger-at-former-pm-bennett-for-approving-work-permits-for-gazans-in-2022/. Accessed 10 May 2024.

"Biden Says US Won't Supply Weapons for Israel to Attack Rafah, in Warning to Ally." AP News, 8 May 2024, https://apnews.com/article/israel-weapons-shipment-us-eed365ebef0477ba74bf9848cacae4f4. Accessed 10 May 2024.

Motamedi, Maziar. "Israel War on Gaza | Live Updates | Today's Latest from Al Jazeera." Al Jazeera, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog/2024/5/10/israels-war-on-gaza-live-aid-operation-completely-crippled-amid-attacks/. Accessed 10 May 2024.

PerryCook, Taija. "What Is Hamas and What Is Its Role in Gaza?" Snopes, 15 Dec. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//articles/465785/what-is-hamas-gaza/. Accessed 10 May 2024.

Samuels, Ben. "Ben-Gvir Tweets Hamas 'loves' Biden as President Mulls Halting U.S. Arms Shipments to Israel over Rafah." Haaretz, 9 May 2024. Haaretz, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-05-09/ty-article/.premium/ben-gvir-tweets-hamas-biden-as-president-mulls-halting-u-s-arms-shipments-to-israel/0000018f-5d25-d9a0-a38f-fd27f61e0000. Accessed 10 May 2024.

"X Gives Free Blue Ticks to Its Most Popular Users." BBC News, 4 Apr. 2024. www.bbc.co.uk, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-68718291. Accessed 10 May 2024.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.