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Facebook joins Israeli arsenal

Hint to Israelis seeking to avoid military service: Don't update your profile on the Sabbath.

Following this year’s Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza, I wrote the following in an article:

[The incident] may provide inspiration for the scriptwriters of the popular Turkish television series ‘Kurtlar Vadisi’, which prompted a diplomatic skirmish with Israel in January [2010] by portraying Israeli intelligence agents in a negative light. Following the portrayal, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister [Danny] Ayalon subjected the Turkish ambassador to Israel, Oğuz Çelikkol, to humiliating treatment such as being seated in a chair at the Foreign Ministry that was lower to the ground than those sat upon by his Israeli interlocutors. Israel was subsequently forced to apologize for its behavior.

Depending on how the current diplomatic crisis plays out, we may either see more Israeli apologies or new seating arrangements for Çelikkol at the Foreign Ministry, such as a hole in the ground.”

Sure enough, the Turkish film Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin—”Valley of the Wolves: Palestine“—is slated for release in January 2011. To my knowledge, no holes have yet been dug in Jerusalem to accommodate Turkish diplomatic personnel, although Israel has once again made Turkish news by denying a visa to Turkish citizen Vahap Fırat, reportedly because he is friends on Facebook with the wife of the film’s screenwriter.

As for Israel’s creative use of technology to complicate the lives of its own citizens, these include yesterday’s AP report entitled “Israel uses Facebook to catch 1,000 draft dodgers”—i.e. women exploiting the exemption from army service permitted to religiously observant Jews.

An excerpt from the article confirming Israel’s latest military victory:

A military official said Monday that one woman who said she was a religious Jew posted a photo of herself on Facebook holding a menu from a non-kosher restaurant. Another updated her profile on the Sabbath.

All were brought back to duty.”

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