Facebook message from ‘Ehud Barak’ ruffles feathers

“I didn’t think anyone would take it so seriously...It's just Facebook," Independence party spokesperson says.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 2, 2011 03:00
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Defense Minister Ehud Barak _311. (photo credit: Reuters/Blaire Gable)

 
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Politicians around the world have gotten in trouble for statements they never made but that were published in their name on their Facebook page.

That’s what happened on Wednesday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. When a news item was published on his official Facebook page that the Iranian nuclear site near Isfahan was caused by an explosion, a response appeared from Barak with the words “ken yirbu,” which can be roughly translated as “[such incidents] should multiply.”

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The comment was actually written by Independence Party spokesman Omer Engelstein, who maintains Barak’s Facebook page and that of the party. As Yediot Aharonot first reported, when the comment from “Barak” started making waves, officials close to Barak were upset and Engelstein took it down.

“I didn’t think anyone would take it so seriously and really attribute it to him,” Engelstein said. “The reactions were actually very positive. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s just Facebook. It’s supposed to be fun for people. It was humor, not beyond that.”

The party is proud that its Facebook page is interactive and that Barak and other ministers in the party have conducted live chats on Facebook.

Barak has not been shy in avoiding controversy his own comments made on the site, including a statement about future prisoner exchanges.

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“I think that now that Gilad Schalit is home, we should completely change our policies and stop the slippery slope we’ve been on,” he said in a chat session.

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