In a groundbreaking move, Israel played host to Elon Musk on Monday, revealing a preliminary agreement for the utilization of SpaceX’s Starlink communications in the Gaza Strip. The timing of Musk’s visit coincided with a temporary pause in the conflict with Hamas.
Musk’s office has remained mum on the details of the trip, but Israeli President Isaac Herzog is scheduled for an afternoon meeting with the tech mogul. The agenda includes discussions with relatives of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and addressing the imperative to combat the escalating issue of online antisemitism, as disclosed by Herzog’s office.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also slated to meet with Musk on Monday, focusing on the security aspects of artificial intelligence and engaging in a live online discussion, according to Netanyahu’s office. Their last encounter in California on September 18 involved Netanyahu urging Musk to strike a balance between safeguarding free expression and combatting hate speech, especially amidst concerns over antisemitism on X, formerly Twitter.
During the recent Gaza war, Musk proposed using Starlink to support communication links in the blackout-affected Gaza enclave, specifically with “internationally recognized aid organizations.” Initially met with objection from Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, citing potential terrorist activities by Hamas, the tone shifted on Monday. Karhi revealed that Israel and Musk reached an agreement in principle, stating, “Starlink satellite units can only be operated in Israel with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Communications, including the Gaza Strip.”
In an X post addressed to Musk, Karhi expressed hope that the visit would serve as a foundation for future collaborations and strengthen Musk’s relationship with the Jewish people and shared values worldwide.
Musk, known for his stance against antisemitism and anything promoting hate and conflict, has faced recent controversies on X. On November 15, he endorsed a post falsely claiming Jewish people were stoking hatred against white people, drawing condemnation from the White House and leading to the suspension of advertisements by major U.S. companies on Musk’s social media platform.
The “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, which Musk acknowledged in his X post, falsely posits that Jewish people and leftists are orchestrating the replacement of white populations with non-white immigrants, leading to a “white genocide.”
The surge in antisemitic incidents during the Gaza war, coupled with Musk’s approach to free speech on X, has sparked debates on the platform’s responsibility in curbing hate speech while maintaining diverse viewpoints.