Facebook wars: Yacimovich calls PM's bluff

Labor leader's staff finds most of Netanyahu's online fans are from the US, thousands are from Indonesia.

April 10, 2012 12:48
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Facebook page

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Facebook page 370. (photo credit: Facebook)


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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.”

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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 network.

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 combined.

“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.

According to 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 quipped.

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 from.

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 army.

According to the Habayit Hayehudi MK, Netanyahu has the strength of numbers, but Yacimovich has more of a real connection to those who “like” her.

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 Livni.

Ayalon was also ranked the most influential Israeli on Twitter by Foreign Policy magazine.

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