April Fools' Day 2015: Benjamin Netanyahu's party considers legal action over Facebook prank

A fake post claimed an Arab politician was being appointed education minister because 'Arabs and Jews were destined to live in this land together'

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An April Fools’ Day joke that tricked Israelis into believing Benjamin Netanyahu had appointed an Arab education minister could result in legal action.

A post on what appeared to be the Prime Minister’s Facebook page this morning announced the handing of the prestigious position to Ayman Odeh, head of Arab political coalition the Joint List.

“I have chosen to appoint the chairman of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh, as the next education minister,” the fictional post read, according to a translation by Jerusalem Online.

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The prank post, screen grabbed by Panet, appeared on a fake page shortly after midnight local time on 1 April

“Even though I know the appointment will be received with harsh criticism from both my party and future coalition, whether we like it or not, Arabs and Jews were destined to live side by side in this land together and I was elected to be the prime minister of everyone.”

The post, in Hebrew, quickly went viral and sparked both praise and outrage from right-wing Israelis.

Few people realised that the account was fake and only had a small number of followers, unlike Mr Netanyahu’s official account with almost 1.3 million “likes”.

The hoax, which appeared just after midnight, said challenges facing the country “can be tackled only when we are united from within”.

A spokesperson for Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party did not see the funny side and vowed action against a growing number of online impersonators.

He told the Jerusalem Post: “Likud legal adviser Avi Halevy will mull legal action in order to prevent and address instances of forgery and impersonations of the prime minister on the Internet in general and Facebook in particular.”

The joke post referred to the Prime Minister’s apology last week to Arab Israelis for comments he made that drew accusations of racism during the election.

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Head of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, casts his ballot with his children at a polling station in the coastal city oh Haifa

Hours before polling stations were to close across the country, he warned that Arab citizens were voting “in droves” in an apparent attempt to drive a last-minute surge to his Likud party.

The real Mr Netanyahu said it was never his intent to offend and “I view myself as the prime minister of each and every citizen of Israel, without any prejudice based on religion, ethnicity or gender.”

Mr Odeh, whose Joint List made unprecedented gains in the vote to become Israel’s third-largest party, did not accept the apology.

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