Lieberman Brings His Inner Sean Connery to Facebook in Honor of Doppelganger Week

Benjamin Netanyahu and Shelly Yacimovich hall joined in this week's virtual festivities, which comes just prior to the Purim holiday, posting their celebrity look-alikes on their Facebook pages.

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Anyone who has spent time on Facebook over the past few days is well aware that it’s officially Doppelganger Week - if they don’t, then they are probably really confused over why their friends’ profile photos have been replaced by pictures of celebrities.

The tradition dates all the way back to 2010, when the Internet gods proclaimed that during the first week of February, thou shalt upload a picture of a famous person whom one feels one resembles most.

In Israel this year, the event happily coincides with preparation for the holiday of Purim, so the meme has been enthusiastically embraced, with numerous doppelganger photographs going up in the holiday spirit of wearing a costume.

Even political leaders are getting into the act. First there was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, appropriately led the way - he is, after all, the leader of the nation - taking a photograph of the actor Mariano Idelman imitating him on the Israeli satire show Eretz Nehederet as the banner on his official Facebook page. In just one day, the photo garnered more than 15,000 ‘likes’ and more than a thousand comments.

Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich quickly followed suit in a similar manner, with actor Tal Friedman in drag portraying her alter ego on the same show, which is essentially Israel’s equivalent to Saturday Night Live.

But another prominent Israeli politician chose a bolder path. Avigdor Lieberman, didn’t put up a photo of an actor doing a parody - instead, he went the classic route, uploading a picture of a bearded Sean Connery as his profile photo.

Lieberman, chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, and until recently, Israel’s Foreign Minister - who hopes soon to be a minister again once he gets those pesky criminal charges out of the way - apparently has a fondness for James Bond. The caption under Sean Connery photo says “Lieberman. Avigdor Lieberman. 007.”

This, despite the fact that, as cinemaphilic commenters pointed out on Facebook, the picture of Connery actually comes from “The Hunt for Red October” and not a Bond film. One wonders whether Lieberman actually looks in the mirror and sees Sean Connery.

It is telling that unlike Netanyahu and Yacimovich, he chose not to use a picture of the actor Assi Cohen, who portrays him in Eretz Nehederet. This is likely because while most of the political parody characters on the show are blundering yet lovable, the Eretz Nehederet Lieberman is a  dark and threatening Stalinist character.

A particular touching tribute was the doppelganger chosen by new Yisrael Beytenu MK Yair Shamir, who posted a photograph of his late father, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir on his Facebook page, and wrote, “They say I look exactly like this guy what do you think?” (The family resemblance, is in fact, striking.)

Despite their fondness for Facebook, neither Naftali Bennett, chairman of Habayit Hayehudi, nor Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid has decided to participate in Doppelganger Week, at least not yet. This may be because, in the thick of the ego games of coalition negotiations, they feel that they need to be taken seriously as possible, and feel it is the wrong time to play fun Internet games.

Or there could be alternative explanations. In Bennett’s case, his aides may be, even as these lines are being written, searching the Internet for a photo of a celebrity with features that resemble Bennett’s baby face and gap-toothed smile which is neither a puppet nor a cartoon character.

In the case of Lapid, it is more likely that staff members simply cannot come up with any movie star who is as well-chiseled and good-looking as their leader thinks he is.

Avigdor Lieberman's Doppelganger on his Facebook pageCredit: Screenshot