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Musk’s Starlink comes to Israel; Gaza availability on case-by-case basis

The move will enable Israelis to access broadband services even in the event of disruption to ground-based communications.

Entrepreneur and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk. Source: Facebook.
Entrepreneur and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk. Source: Facebook.

Israel’s Communications Ministry on Wednesday approved Starlink, the internet broadband satellite service run by Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX.

The move will enable Israelis to access broadband services even in the event of disruption to ground-based communications.

“Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world,” said Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, quoting Psalms 19.

“We will soon be receiving satellite communication lines from all over the world,” he added. “Starlink’s entry into Israel will enable advanced satellite communication routinely and during times of emergency.”

Israel’s security authorities also approved the use of Starlink in the Gaza Strip on a limited, case-by-case basis, in instances where it has been confirmed that the entity in question poses “no concern of risk or possibility of endangering national security,” the ministry said in a statement.

In October, Israel criticized a proposal by Musk to provide Internet connectivity to aid organizations in the Gaza Strip, saying Hamas would take advantage of such a move.

With electricity and Internet connectivity nearly non-existent in Gaza, Musk tweeted, “Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza.”

Karhi criticized the idea at the time, tweeting, “Israel will use all means at its disposal to fight this. Hamas will use it for terrorist activities. There is no doubt about it, we know it, and Musk knows it. Hamas is ISIS.”

However, an acceptable compromise was clearly reached, with Karhi on Wednesday thanking Starlink “for the pertinent discussion and, foremost, agreements and understandings vis-a-vis Gaza.”

Musk has shown himself to be sensitive to Israeli and Jewish concerns in recent months. In November, he visited scenes of the Oct. 7 massacre, touring Kibbutz Kfar Aza with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And in January, he made a private visit to Auschwitz as part of a European Jewish Association event in Poland.

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