Israeli TV hacked on eve of vote to restrict Muslim prayer call | News | DW | 30.11.2016
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Israeli TV hacked on eve of vote to restrict Muslim prayer call

Hackers have compromised two Israeli news channels, broadcasting a 30-second clip critical of a possible ban on the Muslim prayer call. The legislation aims to ban the call to prayer, citing noise pollution.

Two major news channels were unexpectedly interrupted in Israel Tuesday night by images of Muslim holy cites and scripture from the Quran. The interruption, believed to be the work of hackers, came on the eve of a vote in parliament on a bill to restrict the Muslim call to prayer.

The message cut into the evening program of private broadcaster Channel 2 and Channel 10. It included the sound of the Muslim call to prayer, a melodic verse typically broadcast five times a day from mosques to mark regular observance times.

The brief hack also included text in Hebrew that read "God is the greatest," "God's punishment," and "the fire that inflames the heart." The message appears to be a reference to recent wildfires in Israel that have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.

One of the channels hacked confirmed on Twitter that "hackers took over the Channel 2 news program to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer":

New bill threatens Muslim call to prayer

Tuesday's pirating of Israeli TV comes a day before a preliminary vote in parliament on a bill that is highly unfavorable among Muslims. The bill seeks to ban the use of loudspeakers to announce Muslim times of prayer in the morning and at night, citing noise pollution as the reason.

The bill, sponsored by the religious, right-wing Jewish Home party, was amended last week to exempt the Jewish use of sirens to mark the beginning of the sabbath.

Yair Lapid, chairman of the center-left party Yesh Atid, said Tuesday that the bill's sole purpose is to "insult Muslims," reported the Times of Israel.

Some critics of the proposed law have claimed on Twitter that the wildfires were a punishment from God against Israel.

This is not the first time that hacking has effected Israeli institutions. During Israel's bombing campaign against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip in 2014, pirates took over the military's Twitter account.

An earlier hack claimed by Saudis and Palestinians from Gaza hit the websites of the Tel Aviv stock exchange and El Al, an Israeli airline, exposing the information of tens of thousands of credit cards.

ae/ls (AFP, dpa)