Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich’s staff attacked Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s “manipulative” claim to be the most popular politician on Facebook
on Monday night, accusing the prime minister of inflating his online numbers and
pointing out that most of his fans are from abroad.
On Monday, a
spokeswoman for the Likud sent a message that Netanyahu had passed 200,000
“likes” on his personal Facebook Timeline, while all other Israeli politicians
lag far behind. The message pointed out that the social network is “a tool to
connect the nation and its leader.”
Amihai Sargovy, who leads
Yacimovich’s online volunteer staff, posted an analysis of Netanyahu’s Facebook
statistics titled “Prime Minister of the US and Indonesia,” pointing out that
only about 17 percent of Netanyahu’s 201,880 fans are Israeli, while more than
half are American.
Of Yacimovich’s 19,536 Facebook fans, 90% are Israeli.
She ranks fifth in the most “liked” Israeli politicians on the social
Another interesting point Sargovy discovered is that about 5,000
of Netanyahu’s Facebook fans are from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim
country, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. The prime
minister has more “likes” from Indonesia than the UK, Canada, France and Mexico
“Somehow, I have trouble believing that the prime minister has
conquered so many hearts in Indonesia,” the Yacimovich volunteer blogged, adding
that Netanyahu’s office seems to have inflated the numbers.
Sargovy, Netanyahu claims to be connected with 200,000 Israelis via the social
network as part of a well-oiled campaign meant to show him as a strong and
unbeatable prime minister.
“Netanyahu is a politician that can be
defeated. He was not anointed as king – not even by Mark Zuckerberg,” Sargovy
Meanwhile, MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), who has only 2,091
fans, posted the following status shortly before a radio interview about the
Facebook battle: “Roll up your sleeves and start sharing and liking everything
on my page, so I have a right to talk, too!”
Orbach gave his interpretation of
the Shelly vs. Bibi Facebook debate in an interview with Radio 103, explaining
that Netanyahu wants to win, regardless of where his “likes” come
Netanyahu’s Facebook account, Orbach said, is run by his staff, and
the prime minister has probably never seen his own Timeline. Yacimovich,
however, writes most of her posts herself. In fact, one of the most popular ones
is a photo of a dinner she cooked for her son when he came home from the
According to the Habayit Hayehudi MK, Netanyahu has the strength of
numbers, but Yacimovich has more of a real connection to those who “like”
An Israel Beiteinu spokesman pointed out on Tuesday that Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon has 36,242 Facebook fans, making him the third
most “liked” Israeli politician on the social network, ranked between former
Channel 2 journalist Yair Lapid and former opposition and Kadima leader Tzipi
Ayalon was also ranked the most influential Israeli on Twitter by
Foreign Policy magazine.