(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The twitter account of Dr. Dore Gold, former Foreign Ministry director-general and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was hacked over by the Turkish group Ayyildiz Tim on Saturday night.
The hackers, who call themselves "the Turkish cyber army," posted statements in support of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Your account is hacked by the Turkish cyber army Ayyidiz Tim! Your data and your DM correspondence have been captured! The Turks will never forget, neither what is done nor what is evil," read one of the tweets.
"Turkey is right about Afrin! Asparagas Do not rate the news! Terrorists are targeted there, not civilians!," the hackers wrote in one of the tweets.
"Mr. Erdogan and my esteemed colleague Mr. Çavuşoğlu! I want you to know that we are with you in Afrin operation! Our military facilities are always at your disposal!," they said in a tweet, referring to Erdogan and Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu, tagging both leaders in the tweet.
Erdogan said on Saturday a military operation in Syria's Afrin has begun on the ground and another operation in nearby Manbij would follow. Turkey's army said earlier on Saturday it shelled Kurdish positions in Afrin on Friday and Saturday, hitting shelters and hideouts used by militants from three groups.
The operation was dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" by Ankara, targeting Kurdish fighters allied to the United States.
Gold's distinguished career as a public figure includes serving as a long-time adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, member of the peace negotiation team at the Madrid Peace Confrence in 1991, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post
on January 15th, Gold touched on a number of issues
pertaining to the region, including a January 14th speech of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas painted Israel as colonialist, ruled out any peace process as long as US President Donald Trump is in power and expressed hope that Trump’s “house” would be destroyed.
“Abbas’s speech revealed that his narrative is extremely important to him,” Gold said. “It’s critical for Abbas’s strategy to characterize Israel as an apartheid state, to put Israeli history in the context of colonialism and to advancing boycotting, divesting, sanctions and other lawfare. These become the messages he wants to leave for Palestinian youth even after he goes, and this is extremely destructive.”
The hackers posted a message in line with Abbas's speech, writing "Jerusalem can not be the capital of Israel! Because Jerusalem is holy to Muslims and is the land of Palestine," alongside an emoji of a Palestinian flag.
"The Turkish-Islamic Union will soon be established!," they threatened in another tweet, and updated his bio to include, in Turkish, "Ayyıldız Tim special operations team," alongside a Turkish flag.
The group also pinned a tweet to the top of Gold's feed with nearly two-and-a-half minute video showing pictures of fighters and hackers dressed in red regalia mirroring the Turkish flag or the Ayyildiz Tim group and changed his banner photo to that of the group's logo.
“Israel must take steps to ensure the involvement of any Middle Eastern state that seeks to reach a stable peace with Israel. We see a positive approach from Sunni states, and we can work with that even while Abbas is telling them to keep their noses out of it,” he told the Post
The Jerusalem Center confirmed in a tweet his account was hacked but "he expects it to be restored as quickly as possible."
"Glad to be back after my Twitter account was hacked. Thank you to those who contacted to notify me. This serves to strengthen my resolve to keep speaking out on behalf of #Israel, #Jerusalem and against threats to regional security," he wrote on a new Twitter handle at 12:20 A.M. local time, complete with a panoramic picture of Jerusalem's Old City as the banner photo.
The Jerusalem Center retweeted the tweet.
Gil Hoffman and Reuters contributed to this report.