FACT CHECK: No, Pakistan Is Not Holding an Israeli Pilot and Haaretz Did Not Ask for His Return

Fake story is the latest in a series of doctored Israeli newspaper headlines alleging that an Israeli pilot was arrested in Pakistan following an India-Pakistan confrontation

Indian pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan, stands under armed escort near Pakistan-India border in Wagah, Pakistan in this March 1, 2019 image from a video footage
REUTERS/PTV via Reuters TV

A fake image of Haaretz’s frontpage with the headline “Pakistan should return our pilot” is the latest in a series of doctored Israeli newspaper headlines pushing a fake news story alleging that an Israeli pilot was arrested in Pakistan.

In late February, Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet and released the pilot days later in March. However, conspiracy theories, fueled by mainstream media and politicians, falsely claimed an Israeli pilot was captured as well.

Read more: 'Israelis led India’s airstrikes': In Pakistan, the Hindu-Zionist conspiracy theory takes a wild turn

Following those events an image was widely shared on Facebook and Twitter purporting to show a news report from the Jerusalem Post that an Israeli pilot had been arrested in Pakistan. 

Image of fake news story shared on social media
Screen shot

The doctored article was originally headlined “Family bids farewell to pilot who died in IAF crash,” which was published on March 12, 2013 and contains the same photograph of the man and his family.

The image being used in the fake Haaretz story is from an article titled “Israeli Pilots and Blind Obedience? That’s Nonsense” that ran in July 2014.