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Singapore Orders Israeli Embassy to Delete ‘Inappropriate’ Social Post About ‘Palestine’

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Singapore has ordered the Israel Embassy to take down an “insensitive and inappropriate” social media post that could undermine security in the city-state, in the latest test of traditionally warm ties between the two nations.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the embassy compared mentions of Israel and Palestine in the Koran, adding that documents and maps “link the land of Israel to the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land.” The post has since been removed.

“That post, on the Israeli embassy social media page, is completely unacceptable,” Home Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters on Monday. Posts like these can “inflame tensions and can put the Jewish community here at risk. The anger from the post can potentially spill over into the physical realm.”

While Singapore is made up of an ethnic Chinese majority, the multi-racial nation is home to a considerable number of Malays who are Muslim. It also has neighboring Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that have seen protests in support of the Palestinian cause.

Singapore has laws against domestic threats and foreign influence to help maintain the country’s racial and religious harmony.

“The Israel Embassy respects religion and racial harmony in Singapore,” the foreign mission said in response to media queries. “We assure you that the social media post that had gone up was done without the necessary approvals and the person responsible has already been harshly punished and will face internal disciplinary measures.”

Both countries have enjoyed warm ties since Israel helped then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew set up the tiny island nation’s armed forces following Singapore’s independence in 1965. However, the city-state has grown increasingly concerned with the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. 

The take down notice from Singapore comes days after Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his working visit to Israel. 

There he reiterated Singapore’s view that “Israel’s military actions in Gaza has gone too far.” Last week, Singapore completed its first humanitarian airdrop containing food and other essential items into Gaza.

“We will continue to engage all parties, even across the conflict,” Balakrishnan told reporters on Monday. “Having said that, we should also not over-inflate Singapore’s importance.”

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