Netanyahu shared death threat against him? Facebook says it's fake

Independent journalist Yossi Dorfman investigated 'Dana Ron's' social media history, revealing that her account is an avatar.

Israelis put an art installation of a statue depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting on a mock "Last Supper", as part of a protest on what they consider threats against Israel's democracy, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 29, 2020. (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Israelis put an art installation of a statue depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sitting on a mock "Last Supper", as part of a protest on what they consider threats against Israel's democracy, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on July 29, 2020.
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a photo on his Twitter page on Wednesday showing a Facebook comment by a woman named Dana Ron calling for his murder.
"Yesterday the police arrested next to the Prime Minister's Office a man in possession of knives who threatened to kill me. Today I will file a complaint against the threat of incitement attached here, that calls to murder me with 'a bullet in the head,'" Netanyahu wrote, circling the comment saying "Bibi needs to be taken down by force alone... Dictators are moved with a bullet in the head."
אתמול המשטרה עצרה ליד משרד ראש הממשלה אדם שאיים לרצוח אותי ובכליו נמצאו סכינים. היום אגיש תלונה במשטרה נגד איום ההסתה המצורף כאן, שקורא לרצוח אותי ״עם כדור בראש״.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 29, 2020
Who is the woman behind this incitement?
Independent journalist Yossi Dorfman investigated the history of Dana Ron's Facebook account, revealing that the answer might be more complicated than it first appears. 
Dorfman has published in mostly Israeli media outlets and has been cited by them. He considers himself a social activist.
"Since I do not trust Bibi, I went to check who is this Dana Ron that he said he would file a complaint against for inciting murder," Dorfman wrote on his Twitter account, sharing his investigation.
Dorfman's scan of the account showed that Dana Ron updated her bio twice within a minute apart on Tuesday, hours after pro-Likud far-Right activists violently attacked protesters who had gathered in Tel Aviv to condemn the government.

Three minutes prior to updating her bio, Ron shared a video from the September 2019 elections calling on voters not to cast their ballots for Netanyahu. Three minutes before that, the account shared another old video against Netanyahu and his involvement in what is known as the "Submarine Affair."
A minute before those two videos, another two posts were shared with old videos against Netanyahu, one of them calling for mass protests. And two minutes before that, another old video of an anti-Netanyahu protest was published.
Once again, within four minutes, the account posted two more videos, this time actual coverage of the protests on Tuesday, one from outside Public Security Minister Amir Ohana's home and the other from Balfour Street, where the Prime Minister's Residence is located.
The account seems even more peculiar, as Dorfman reveals that the most recent post before that was two weeks prior and was a post about Japanese reality television.

Digging deeper, he shows that Ron was previously named Dana Levi and claims the account is an "Avatar Account," a fictional account created to present a fake reality.
Dorfman even reported that Ron's account shared a post on March 6 that attacks Netanyahu, but this time from the Right, appealing to voters not to support the prime minister if there was a chance he would cooperate with Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi.
According to Dorfman's findings, Ron's account shows no friends and it is not possible to request to become one.
The activist claims however, that avatar accounts usually have some interaction with other such accounts. 
He then demonstrates this by showing an account belonging to one "Lali Mor," which reacts to posts by Ron. Lali Mor's account is affiliated with Netanyahu followers.
Dorfman asked why an account affiliated with Netanyahu should react on so many posts created by an anti-Netanyahu account. He even shows that Mor's account is liked by accounts belonging to right-wingers, including MK Bezalel Smotrich.

As per his findings, Dorfman wonders whether there was a genuine call for Netanyahu's murder or that it is a fake account that the prime minister or someone affiliated with him is using as a political tool.
Dorfman revealed earlier in July that Transportation Minister Miri Regev used a picture from a protest in 2013 – in which a man holds a sign saying "revolt" – and presented it as a picture from a protest outside Netanyahu's residence to slam the protesters for promoting incitement.

The Jerusalem Post found that besides the account uncovered by Dorfman, there are several other accounts under Dana Ron's name, which share the same pattern of anti-Netanyahu rhetoric, preceded by posts about Japanese pop culture.
Facebook later announced that Dana Ron's account was fake and removed it from the social media platform.
"An investigation conducted by our global teams abroad shows that the account in question is a fictitious account and therefore it was immediately removed from the platform," the Facebook announcement said. "Furthermore, the account's comment violates our terms and conditions against calls for violence and as such the comment was removed along with the account that wrote it."
Officials on behalf of Netanyahu reacted to Facebook's response, claiming that, "if this is an anonymous account run by elements calling for the assassination of the prime minister, then it is no less severe. The police must locate [the perpetrator], bring him to justice and act resolutely against the dozens of incitement and murder threats published daily against the prime minister and his family.
"It's shameful and disgraceful that the media is engaged in rendering incitement instead of condemning it sharply and clearly," they said.
The Lahav 433 cyber unit of the police announced on Thursday the opening of an investigation into the incident and is expected to investigate who is behind the fictitious Facebook account that published the threat to Netanyahu.

The investigation was announced after the Movement for Quality of Government appealed to Acting Chief of Police Motti Cohen demanding the opening of a criminal investigation in order to reveal the identity of the person who threatened to assassinate Netanyahu through a fictitious profile on social media.
"We believe that the attorney-general and the acting police chief have a clear and immediate duty to open an investigation and locate the author of the statement threatening the assassination of Prime Minister Netanyahu," the Movement said in a statement.
"We take these threats very seriously. Whether it is a fictitious profile or a real person, it is an explicit threat to the assassination of a prime minister in Israel, and certainly this should not be taken lightly," the statement added.
"We have all witnessed in recent weeks how citizens who took to the streets to protest against corruption and the difficult economic situation, suffered extremely severe violence from other citizens - who were fueled by the fumes of hatred and incitement that they inhaled through social media."
Earlier on Thursday, Attorney Gonen Ben Yitzhak of the Black Flag Movement, one of the protest's leaders, filed a police complaint  against Topaz Luk, the prime minister's new media director and his associates.
Ben Yitzhak complained that his picture was linked in a tweet published by Netanyahu in which there is a reference to the arrest of a man who was allegedly caught with a knife near the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem. The tweet was also accompanied by a photo of a reaction that threatened Netanyahu's life, which later turned out to have been written from a fake Facebook account. Ben Yitzhak said: "The prime minister incited against me personally."
"It is clear to everyone that someone 'engineered' a post on the prime minister's page, with a picture of me and a caption in which a man armed with a knife was apprehended near the prime minister's office," Ben Yitzhak said in a conversation with N12 shortly after the complaint was filed. "Anyone who sees the tweet and does not understand the context sees my picture straight away, and it is a prime minister who incites against the people who are protesting against him, so that this year's disturbed new 'Yigal Amir' will catch one of us on the street and stab us with a knife," Ben Yitzhak said.
On the decision to file a complaint against Luk and not against Netanyahu personally, Ben Yitzhak said: "I do not believe that the prime minister is the one who decided to put me in the crosshairs. I think the new media executives did that and they should be held accountable."
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.