Israel’s diplomatic mission to the US has posted a taunting meme depicting Keanu Reeves from The Matrix in response to an Iranian tweet warning ‘time is up’.
The online exchange on Wednesday came as real-world tensions in the Middle East reached new heights, with President Joe Biden visiting Israel on an urgent mission to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from spiraling into a broader regional conflict.
The war that began October 7 with an unprecedented Hamas attack on Israel left more than 1,400 Israelis dead, with at least 199 others, including children, abducted and held hostage in Gaza.
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Wednesday that 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 injured in airstrikes over the past 11 days, with casualties expected to rise as Israel prepares for a possible ground assault.
Iran, a key backer of Hamas, celebrated the group’s brutal attack on Israel, including with gloating posts on the social media platform X, where Tehran’s embassy in Syria posted the ‘time is up’ message in Hebrew, clearly directing it at Israelis.
Israel’s diplomatic mission to the US posted a taunting meme depicting Keanu Reeves from The Matrix in response to an Iranian tweet in Hebrew warning ‘time is up’
The online exchange on Wednesday came as real-world tensions in the Middle East reached new heights, with President Joe Biden visiting Israel on an emergency diplomatic mission
Israel’s embassy in the US responded with the taunting meme showing Reeves’ character Neo from the 1999 film The Matrix.
The animated image depicts Neo motioning with a beckoning gesture, which occurred during the movie’s subway fight scene with the villain Agent Smith.
That fight ended with Neo’s retreat, although by the end of the movie he defeated Smith.
Iran provides arms and support to Hamas, as well as the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon, which has exchanged rocket volleys with Israel in recent days. Both Hamas and Hezbollah are designated terror groups by the US and EU.
The online taunts between Israel and Iran came as the situation in the real world remained deadly serious.
Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday in a show of support for the key US ally, and in a bid to prevent the violence from spreading further.
But a planned peace summit in Jordan between Biden and leaders from Israel and the Palestinian territories was called off after an explosion at a Gaza hospital left hundreds dead on Tuesday night.
Jordan’s King Abdullah would have hosted the four-way summit, but blamed Israel for the deadly hospital blast, and angrily called off the talks.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah is seen in a file photo. Iran is a key backer of Hamas, as well as the Hezbollah militant group in Lebanon
The scene of destruction at Al Ahli hospital after a blast in Gaza City on Tuesday. Israel and Hamas terrorists have blamed each other for the blast
People inspect the area of Al-Ahli hospital where hundreds of Palestinians were killed in a blast that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other on Wednesday
Children injured in the hospital strike cry as they receive treatment in the Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip on Tuesday
Israelis and Palestinians both blame each other for the explosion.
Israel released what it says are intercepted audio communications that show Hamas fighters attributing the attack to a misfired rocket launched by Islamic Jihad, an allied militant group in Gaza.
Biden has publicly backed Israel’s attribution of responsibility for the hospital explosion, saying the Pentagon showed him evidence Israeli forces were not behind it.
Speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said: ‘I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion of the hospital in Gaza yesterday, and based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you.’
‘But there’s a lot of people out there not sure, so we’ve got a lot, we’ve got to overcome a lot of things,’ Biden added.
‘The world is looking. Israel has a value set like the United States does, and other democracies, and they are looking to see what we are going to do.’
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry revised the death toll from an explosion at a Gaza City hospital down from 500 to 471 on Wednesday but did not elaborate on how authorities reached that figure, according to the Associated Press.
Staff members at al-Ahli Hospital said they could not gauge the toll because the blast had dismembered so many bodies.
A Lebanese protester is seen on October 18 as a fire rages behind the security gate of the US embassy after clashes with security forces in Beirut
Protesters throw stones towards riot police, during a demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, near the U.S. embassy in Aukar, a northern suburb of Beirut
Hospital director Suhaila Tarazi and Episcopal Church officials that run al-Ahli could only estimate that the toll was ‘in the hundreds’ and refrained from giving an exact number.
The hospital blast unleashed new fury and protests across the Middle East.
Protesters swarmed the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, setting fires and hurling fireworks in clashes with the Lebanese military.
All non-essential State Department staff have been told to leave the region, and a level four travel advisory has been issued to all Americans advising against travel to Lebanon.
Thousands of students also rallied at Egyptian universities to condemn Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza.
The Gaza City hospital explosion also triggered protests in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.