ISRAEL

IDF fails to contain rumour of kidnapped soldier

On Thursday evening we were alerted to a story about an Israeli soldier having been kidnapped near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport. Details of the incident were published online in an article by the Jerusalem Post. But a few minutes after it was published, the story was removed from the website.

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Screen grab from The Jerusalem Post.

On Thursday evening we were alerted to a story about an Israeli soldier having been kidnapped near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport. Details of the incident were published online in an article by the Jerusalem Post. But a few minutes after it was published, the story was removed from the website.

The Israeli army dismissed the rumour shortly after the story broke, but only after it had put the secret services on high alert.

“The authorities put a gag order on the information. Too late”

Lisa Goldman is a journalist and blogger in Tel Aviv.

The alert was called on Thursday afternoon when a female soldier reported having seen an Israeli soldier forced into a vehicle near Tel Aviv airport. The army immediately set up barricades in various places which blocked traffic in almost all of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post journalist who works on police affairs, who basically listens to the army radio all the time, heard the story and immediately posted an article about it online. Almost at the same time, the authorities put a gag order on the information, obliging the journalist to remove the article from the site.

Too late. Everybody was already talking about it on Twitter and the information had been picked up by foreign media (CNN, BBC, et al.).

As well as the roadblocks, the army began contacting each soldier in service individually. By midnight, they'd located all of them, safe and sound. It's funny to think that one woman managed to shut down a whole country with one radio message. For now, we still don't know what really happened, but Israel's biggest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, devoted four pages to the affair on Friday.

In order to avoid the media embargo on the story, the Israeli media cited foreign press as sources.