Haaretz Files Police Complaint About Fake Article Circulated Online

Fake article and headline incorrectly described Jerusalem construction-excavator attack, in which one Israeli civilian was killed, as a road accident.

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The excavator used in the Jerusalem attack on August 4, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman

Haaretz on Friday filed a police complaint about a faked Haaretz report that was circulated over social networks after the construction-excavator attack in Jerusalem this week.

The fake headline read “Bulldozer and bus in Jerusalem road accident,” while the actual headline about the attack read “Soldier wounded in Jerusalem shooting, hours after digger attack kills one.” 

The screenshot also included a fake subheadline that read “Mohammed Naif, 23, of Jabel Mukaber, lost control of the excavator, struck a pedestrian and collided with a bus. Police at the scene fired at the excavator, murdering Mohammed in cold blood. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino supported the police officers’ act, saying that they had acted according to the laws of apartheid that are the custom in Israel. A young Haredi man was killed when the construction vehicle struck him. Naif’s family sent condolences to the family of the young man. Mohammed’s mother told our reporter that recently Mohammed had suffered from fatigue due to overwork, and was saving money to fly to the Caribbean for a vacation, which had always been a dream of his.”

The complaint filed by Haaretz, which included publications of the screenshot and comments on it, stated: “The purpose of the article and those who circulated it was to mislead the public into thinking that this was the article Haaretz had published about the terror attack this week in which an Israeli man was killed in Jerusalem, in an effort to incite against the Haaretz newspaper and its owners, editors and writers.”

A screenshot of the fake article

The complaint also stated, “The fakery that is being spread widely over the Internet causes severe financial damage to Haaretz and defames its image. A quick glance at Facebook users’ comments on the fake article is all that is necessary to confirm that.”

“The creation of these fake articles by malicious manipulation and their circulation, to encourage incitement against Haaretz and its employees and to harm society, constitute criminal acts that include forgery, using a fake screenshot and conspiracy to defraud,” Haaretz’s chief digital officer, Lior Kodner, wrote in the company’s name. “We ask that you begin an immediate investigation to find the perpetrators.”