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Fact Check-Video of people tearing clothes in Jerusalem shows a Jewish custom and is not linked to the 2021 Hamas-Israel conflict

Footage showing three people wearing torn shirts has been falsely linked to the ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas, and is falsely said to show Israelis who later pretended they were attacked by Palestinians. However, the video is several years old and shows people conducting a traditional Jewish custom known as tearing kriah.

The video has been viewed by thousands of social media users and begins with a man tearing the shirt of a woman, before tearing his own. The camera pans to show a child who is also wearing a torn shirt. An adult male standing nearby then asks the person filming to stop because they are outside Temple Mount (here , here , here and here).

“Fiction features heavily in the world of Zionist Israel,” wrote one Facebook user on May 15 in an accompanying caption. “’Israelis in Jerusalem are tearing their clothes so as to make it look like they are the victims of an attack by Palestinians’ LOL, They can be an actresses and actors now.”

Other Facebook users have made similar comments.

Violence between Israel and Hamas militants has rapidly escalated since May 10, killing hundreds of people – the majority of whom were Palestinian (here).

However, the video circulating on social media is at least three years old (here and here), while claims that the subjects pretended they were attacked appears to be a false assumption made upon an initial misunderstanding of the video’s context.

All three of the video’s subjects have a similar tear from the neckline of their shirts and downwards. In Jewish custom, this is known as tearing kriah (here and bit.ly/3fz6yCD).

Kriah is generally performed as a sign of mourning a family member; however, some Jews also tear kriah upon seeing Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism (here , here and bit.ly/3fvTJsD). Shirts especially for the occasion have in the past also been sold or distributed nearby (here and here).

VERDICT

False. The video is at least three years old and shows three people performing a Jewish custom at the holiest site in Judaism.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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