KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
A few years ago during Libya's uprising, Dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave a defiant speech. Then, a music producer in Tel Aviv decided to turn that speech into a dance mix.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "GADDAFI-ZENGA SONG-NO GIRL EDIT VERSION, NOY ALOOSHE REMIX,")
MCEVERS: Now, that producer is making parody videos about the militant group Hamas. It's all part of the digital war of tweets and viral videos that's going on at the same time as the shooting war between Israel and Gaza. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.
ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Tel Aviv music producer Noy Alooshe has a reputation for making catchy videos during conflicts. For the current war he decided to make a video he calls "Hamas Karaoke". The image shows a Hamas press conference three imposing mast men and every time the guy in the center raises his index finger the music plays a word one. So it looks like the Hamas guys are singing Bob Marley, U2 or One Direction.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "HAMAS THE KARAOKE COLLECTION, VOLUME 1")
SHAPIRO: Alooshe is proud of this video but he admits it's not the winner.
NOY ALOOSHE: I must say that like the biggest hits right now are like that a lot of the Israeli are talking about it right now and people are dancing like at home and soldiers are dancing to it - it's not an Israeli song it's a Hamas song.
SHAPIRO: A song that Hamas produced in Hebrew called shake Israel's security.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO, "HAMAS-SHAKE ISRAEL'S SECURITY, PROPAGANDA VIDEO")
SHAPIRO: The lyrics are not exactly subtle.
ALOOSHE: Let's kill Jews, let's kill the Zionists.
SHAPIRO: And people dance to it in clubs?
ALOOSHE: Yeah, because it's a really good song it's got a really good beat.
SHAPIRO: YouTube just took it down today saying it violates the site's rule against hate speech. Alooshe thinks of himself as a soldier in the new media war against Hamas and though it pains him to say this....
ALOOSHE: They are like winning this war.
SHAPIRO: No question Hamas has stepped up its Internet game from the last conflict.
>>AL-GHUSSEIN: Well, whenever you talk to your - the other people who are killing you by their language, you're going to send a message directly to them.
SHAPIRO: Ihab al-Ghussein is a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.
>>AL-GHUSSEIN: We had an excellent electronic war on it, actually. It was from the Palestinian activists, and that was great.
SHAPIRO: There are trained soldiers in the social media war - the official English Twitter account for the Israeli military has more than 300,000 followers. But on this battlefield, you don't have to be trained as a soldier. Nalan Sarraj is a young woman in Gaza who blogs. Since this conflict began, her Twitter followers have doubled to almost 10,000 people.
NALAN SARRAJ: Basically I'm just going crazy just trying to take pictures between the war and try to tweet it and tell the world what's Happening.
SHAPIRO: The other day Israeli airstrikes hit the building next to her. She ran to the balcony to take a picture.
SARRAJ: My mother was screaming, she was like don't go near the back and you can't do this to me anymore. And I was like I don't care I need people to see what's actually happening.
SHAPIRO: In this war, social media is also letting people communicate directly with their enemies. Elizabeth Tsurkov is a human right activist and blogger in Tel Aviv. She recently noticed some grammatical errors in Hamas's Hebrew Twitter account.
ELIZABETH TSURKOV: And I corrected just a couple of them. And surprisingly they responded.
SHAPIRO: Tsurkov received a very gracious tweet back from Hamas.
TSURKOV: The said hello - shalom - which means peace also in Hebrew. And then they said thank you.
SHAPIRO: She could tell the person on the other end was not Israeli because she says Israelis are just not that polite.
TSURKOV: To be honest, I kind of felt - I had a burst of kind of empathy to the person writing it. I thought he is a person just like me he is so polite. I mean he is more polite than I am.
SHAPIRO: Technology saturates every aspect of this War. Not just drones and missile defense shields, but mundane things like war smartphone apps that includes flashlights and radios, and emergency numbers. When I was interviewing Noye Alooshe in Tel Aviv, an air raid siren went off. We dashed to the shelter in his apartment building, where he insisted we take a selfie. As soon as the siren stopped, he uploaded the picture to Twitter and Facebook. Then he used the chat service "WhatsApp" to make sure everyone in his family was safe. Ari Shapiro NPR News, Jerusalem.
MCEVERS: This is NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.