Gaza war spawns Middle East take on Ice Bucket Challenge

Gaza war spawns Middle East take on Ice Bucket Challenge

JERUSALEM - The war in Gaza has sparked several new takes on the Ice Bucket Challenge with Palestinians dumping buckets of rubble over their heads and an Israeli dousing himself with manure.

The craze, where people are filmed pouring buckets of icy water over their heads to raise awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig's disease, has taken social media by storm.

Thousands of people worldwide, from billionaires to pop stars and even former US presidents, have taken part in the charity stunt.

As participants pour the freezing water over themselves, they challenge two or three other people to do the same - or else make a donation to the cause.

But the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza, which has seen Israel and Hamas fighting a bitter war, killing 2,137 Palestinians and 68 on the Israeli side, has spawned two rather unique awareness campaigns.

In Gaza, where the bombardment has meant water is in drastically short supply and electricity shortages make iced water practically non-existent, local journalist Ayman al-Alul has come up with the "Rubble Bucket Challenge".

"We looked for a bucket of water, however the use of water is more important than to empty over our heads... so I decided to use rubble," he said in a two-minute video posted on his YouTube channel.

"This challenge... it is for all people who sympathise with the Palestinian people... We don't ask for material aid... we ask for solidarity." The challenge was quickly picked up by young Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, who won the 2013 edition of "Arab Idol".

The 24-year-old, who comes from the southern city of Khan Yunis, is a goodwill ambassador for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

On the other side of the border in the Israeli kibbutz of Nir Yitzhak, located in the "Gaza envelope", Israeli farmer Saar Altman has come up with a slightly more pungent take on the craze.

His "Shit Bucket Challenge" is directed specifically at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and two ultra-hardliners in his security cabinet: Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett over their inability to bring quiet to residents in Israel's south.

"I want to challenge Bibi, Lieberman and Bennett who think that with force and no long term solution they can solve all the problems of the south," he says in a video posted on his Facebook page, which was splashed over all the Israeli media.

"Because of their attitude, we are eating their shit," he said before an earth mover douses him with sloppy, semi-liquid manure.

The "Gaza Envelope" refers to communities that lie within seven kilometres (four miles) of the Gaza border.

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