From praising Jesus to tweeting Bibi, PM's new recruit has colorful past

Controversy surrounds Netanyahu's new social media staffer.

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April 24, 2018 18:00
1 minute read.
Hananya Naftali

Hananya Naftali. (photo credit: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new deputy social media adviser Hananya Naftali is a popular Israel advocate online, served in the Armored Corps, fought Hamas in Operation Protective Edge, and calls himself a Jew who loves Jesus.

Naftali was hired by Netanyahu’s social media adviser Topaz Luk, who says he “hired a superstar.”

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Naftali will assist Luk in running Netanyahu’s social media networks.

Naftali has recently posted videos of himself defending Israel’s policies on the Gaza Strip and criticizing the United Nations and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. But Naftali’s posts about his religious faith have raised eyebrows.

In one video, he calls himself “a Christian.” In another, he says that both his parents are Jewish, and he denied charges that he converted soldiers in the army, which were raised after he posted in January 2014 that on a weekend in the IDF he “read the Bible and shared Jesus.”

“I am not part of any cult,” he said in the video. “I’m not part of the messianic Judaism denomination.



In fact, I am not part of any denomination. I am just a normal guy who made his own decision to follow Jesus.”

Blogs online have posted tweets in which the bloggers said Naftali identified as a messianic Jew, but were since deleted.

Luk described Naftali as “a full Jew on both sides, who respects Christians who love Israel and do so much to strengthen Israel.”

“This is the main thing,” he said.



Luk denied reports that all the social media staff of Netanyahu got their jobs because they were friends with Netanyahu’s son Yair. Luk said he served in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit with Yair Netanyahu, but that neither Naftali nor Jonathan Urich, who handles the prime minister’s personal social media, had ties with Yair.

“Everyone is in his position because of his talents,” he added.

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