Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu was caught out on his own Telegram channel on Tuesday afternoon after he shared a photo of an empty voting center, claiming it was from Tuesday. However, in reality, the photo was from 2019 - over three years ago.
The photo that Netanyahu claimed was from the morning of the November 1 elections for the 25th Knesset showed two images side-by-side - the first of a line outside a voting center with the caption "Leftist voting center in Tel Aviv," and the second of an empty room with the caption "Likud voting center in Holon."
The message accompanying the photos read "voting percentages are low in Likud strongholds > > go out and vote [Likud] to remove Lapid-Gantz-Abbas >> Enough! Only [Likud]!"
However, subscribers to his Telegram channel were quick to notice that something seemed off about the message. Scrolling back to the day of the "once in a lifetime" second elections that were held on September 17, 2019, revealed a suspiciously similar message, with the exact same photographs attached.
In the image from 2019, however, the text accompanying the images was slightly different, albeit with the same undertone. "Voting percentages are high in Leftist strongholds," it read. "Voting percentages are low in Right strongholds. Disaster! Go out now and vote [Likud] - Otherwise, we will have a leftist government with Arab parties!"
Caught out not once, but twice
A dedicated political fact-checking Twitter account by the name of @Bodkim2022 shared the images of Netanyahu's Telegram messages, garnering widespread attention. After this, it was not long before the same account discovered that it was not just on Telegram that Netanyahu had attempted to pass off the images as new, but on Twitter as well.
גם בטוויטר pic.twitter.com/MrNS7ajXex— בודקים (@bodkim2022) November 1, 2022
Despite Netanyahu's best efforts on his social media channels at the time, no government was formed in September 2019, and it wouldn't be until March 2020 that a shaky and short-lived coalition government made up of Netanyahu's Likud and Benny Gantz's Blue and White would be formed. However, three years and two governments later, it's too soon to know if his recycled scare tactics will have any impact this time around either.