The Shmooze

Israel Buys Twitter Handle From Porn Entrepreneur

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Twitter users following @israel were, until last month, not getting news from the Jewish State. Nor were they getting updates from the West Bank or Gaza Strip. They were, however, reading about a totally different kind of strip…as in striptease.

The owner of the handle since Twitter’s infancy, Israel Melendez told the New York Times his account went largely unused because he was getting nothing but angry anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments in response to his tweets, when all he wanted to do was advertise his business enterprise. His Spanish-language Internet porn site, that is.

Enter the State of Israel, which decided last month to give Twitter a shot.

Accustomed to the criticism and perhaps feeling Melendez’s pain — not to mention, wanting the obvious handle for itself — the State of Israel offered to take @israel off the impresario’s hands — for a fee, of course (the Spanish newspaper Publico reported that Melendez got a whopping six figures for the name).

Arrangements were made through the Israeli consulate in Miami. “We thought we could put it to better use than he did,” Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told the New York Times. He went on to explain that the purchase was in line with Israel’s recent efforts to expand into social media.


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