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Israel: soldiers using fake accounts on Twitter to attack left-wingers

December 13, 2022 at 3:18 pm

Israeli soldiers in Hebron, West Bank on October 25, 2022. [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli soldiers have been found to have registered under fake identities on Twitter to attack left-wing activists online, including Israeli journalists, Haaretz has reported. According to FakeReporter, the accounts set up by the soldiers were revealed to be Rovai Barovait (“Rifleman in the Rifle Company”) and Hapantera Barovait (“The Panther in the Rifle Company”).

Although a spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) claimed that the identity of the soldier or soldiers running the accounts is not known, it was quoted as saying that “The soldier expressed himself in violation of regulations and in a manner that does not meet the values of the IDF.” The IDF added that the military protocols on such matters have since been clarified.

The FakeReporter investigation was conducted in collaboration with Haaretz. It also traced solid links between IDF troops based in the Southern Hebron Hills and the two Twitter accounts which have, said Haaretz, been used to harass the activists who assist Palestinian schoolchildren daily in Al-Tuwani village, in the occupied West Bank region of Masafer Yatta, to the south of Hebron, following regular settler attacks.

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The fake Rovai Barovait account posted a video last month filmed in an area blocked off from activists showing Palestinian girls walking to school with a photographer walking behind them and take pictures of them without their parents’ consent. The clip was then posted on Twitter with the caption, “Good morning and hello from the sweet children”.

The second fake account, Hapantera Barovait, responded to the video stating that, “We will be able to let them walk by themselves without guarding them from the anarchists who are looking for action.”

On another occasion, a post includes a tweet posted by independent journalist Israel Frey, highlighting the “injustices of the occupation” which was attacked by Rovai Barovait, in which he was called an “ugly little Jew”.

The two fake accounts follow each other and the accounts of left-wing activists who support Palestinians in the village. One of the fake accounts follows three real Twitter accounts belonging to soldiers who serve in the Southern Hebron Hills, and they follow it in return.