A photograph of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking on as freed soldier Gilad Shalit and his father embraced has unleashed a torrent of Photoshopped images onto the Internet.
The image, seen as Shalit was returned to Israel after nearly five-and-a-half years in Hamas captivity, has evoked not only tears but also a measure of cynicism - causing a flood of Photoshopped pictures to appear on Facebook and the wider Hebrew Internet, as well as at least one blog and related hashtag monitoring the so-called "Bibi Bombing."
As the Prime Minister's Office has reiterated ad nauseam, Netanyahu was the leader who decided to bring Shalit home, but for many people his presence and his smile in the frame ruined the moment, and the image. This was the photograph the entire country had waited for, but it was also a very private moment for the Shalits - the moment Gilad stopped being "the son of us all" and went back to being himself and his parents' son.
Netanyahu's grin turned the picture into what is known as a photobomb, described on the Urban Dictionary website as "An otherwise normal photo that has been ruined or spoiled by someone who was not supposed to be in the photograph."
Netanyahu is in good company: Recently U.S. President Barack Obama ruined a group photo at the United Nations when he waved his arm and inadvertently blocked the face of his Mongolian counterpart, Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
The image of Netanyahu smiling in the background as Gilad and his father, Noam Shalit, embraced turned the prime minister into a kind of Forrest Gump, with Uri Streigold apparently being the first person to insert Bibi into Maccabi Tel Aviv's victory photograph after its 1977 EuroBasket win against CSKA Moscow.
Streigold's action snowballed into a storm of purposely sloppy insertions of Bibi and his smile into historic events, from Theodor Herzl leaning on the railing in Basel, to the famous photograph of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall in the Six-Day War, and even onstage with Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Miri Aloni at that November 1995 rally at Malkhei Yisrael Square.
Netanyahu sneaked into pop-culture moments too, crawling into bed with John and Yoko on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and joining the Beatles crossing the street on the cover of "Abbey Road."
The list of Bibi-enhanced images grew exponentially over the Simhat Torah holiday, to include the Karate Kid, Harry Potter, Mount Rushmore and joining Charlton Heston's Moses at Mount Sinai.
Someone even "corrected" the original image, so that Gilad Shalit, in Netanyahu's suit, looked on as his father and the prime minister, wearing Gilad's army uniform, embraced.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now