West Bank outpost..
(photo credit: PEACE NOW)
Israeli children's TV star 'Yuval HaMebulbal' ('Confused Yuval') caused an unlikely uproar on Wednesday when the temporary location of his filming set in the West Bank was mistaken for a new Israeli settler outpost by Palestinian media.
Calm was only restored when photos later emerged of the true reason for the "outpost" - the set of a movie featuring 'Yuval HaMebulbal', who is famous for being remarkably confused, among both toddlers and parents alike.
The outrage commenced when Palestinian activist Nazmi Salman posted a message on social media stating that a group of Israeli settlers had established a new outpost close to the West Bank city of Ariel. Salman described heavy traffic flow around the site, the pitching of tents and the construction of wooden buildings and electricity lines. Palestinian farmers that approached were ushered away by security.
News of the construction of the "outpost" spread quickly and was even picked up by several major Palestinian news agencies, including popular Palestinian Authority network Ma'an.
On Twitter, Ma'an announced that "Israeli settlers take over Palestinian lands in Salfit, erect illegal outpost."
The reality was that it was a set-up for a children's film due for release next summer.
The filming forms part of a campaign to promote Israeli movie production in the Samaria Regional Council area of the West Bank.
The star of the controversy, whose real name is Yuval Shem Tov, distanced himself on Thursday from the surprise political storm surrounding him in an interview with Israeli radio station Radio 103.
"I don't know the names of politicians. I only know Spongebob," said Shem Tov. "We set up an imaginary village and it turns out that Palestinians saw this and thought that we had set up a settlement."
Yossi Dagan, Head of the Samaria Regional Council that acted to bring the production to the area, said: "I believe that as a result of this movie, many more movies will be filmed here."
"This is a large area with breathtaking views and a local population that is delighted to help and take part," said Dagan. "I still believe that we will transform the Samaria region into the capital culture of Israel."
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