On Twitter’s 10th anniversary, PM leads Israeli politicians in number of followers

Shaffir the second-most followed MK, says medium helps create resonance for issues she wants to highlight.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Twitter page (photo credit: screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Twitter page
(photo credit: screenshot)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the most-followed Israeli politician on Twitter, with over 550,000 followers.
The microblogging platform, which has grown increasingly popular among MKs in recent years, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the first-ever tweet on Monday.
MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), the second-most-followed politician, with over 57,300 followers, is chairwoman of the Knesset Special Committee on Government Information Accessibility and its Transparency to the Public – better known as the Transparency Committee. She said Thursday that Twitter has helped attain the panel’s goals.
“Twitter is the most efficient tool to update the public on what is happening in the Knesset in real-time,” she explained. “More than once, while tweeting, we saw significant ideas for discussions in the Transparency Committee, or cases in which the broader public used the Internet to help in our parliamentary battles.”
Shaffir credited social networks with helping create a greater resonance for the issues she fought for. Facebook, she said, played a significant role in the 2011 housing protests, which she helped lead, long before the mainstream press paid attention to them.
“Around the world, good citizens who were not connected to the government became influential and stronger than some politicians, moving hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets and demand better politics,” with the help of social media, she said.
A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said Netanyahu uses social networks “to reach his audience directly, without the media’s mediation.
“Twitter is another arena for this activity by the prime minister, with short, focused messages to audiences in Israel and abroad,” he said.
MK Shelly Yacimovich, also of the Zionist Union, is the third-most popular Israeli politician on Twitter, with 55,000 followers, followed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett (52,100), Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni (38,100) and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid (26,800).