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23 May, 2018 09:12

Pictures don’t lie? US envoy accepts fake photo with Jerusalem mosque replaced by Jewish temple

Tensions surrounding Jerusalem just got worse, thanks to a bit of make believe and Photoshop. The US ambassador was thrust into controversy after accepting a picture of the city which replaced a mosque with a third Jewish temple.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman was all smiles as he accepted the aerial photo of Jerusalem during a tour of the city of Bnei Brak held by the ultra-Orthodox Achiya organization, which aids children suffering from learning disabilities.

While a gift to a US ambassador by an Israeli organization isn't exactly breaking news considering the Jewish State's extreme delight at Washington's decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, this one particular gift was more than a bit absurd, because it isn't at all factual.

The photo shows the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock replaced with the Third Temple, which has been long sought after by Jews. The image of Friedman was first published on the ultra-Orthodox news website Kikar Hashabat.

Once the US Embassy saw the doctored photo, it snapped back by saying that Friedman "was not aware of the image thrust in front of him when the photo was taken. He was deeply disappointed that anyone would take advantage of his visit to Bnei Brak to create controversy." It went on to reiterate that the US "supports the status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."

The embassy demanded an apology from the non-profit organization which gifted the photo, an official told Haaretz. It later received one, with the non-profit saying that "regretfully the entire event was marred by a cheap political act." It added that "the responsible staff member was identified and apologizes and we will deal with the matter internally in the organization."

Meanwhile, despite the US Embassy insisting that Washington supports the status quo, others aren't so sure. Al-Aqsa Mosque even made it into a Dutch comedian's parody of Israel's winning Eurovision song. "The world’s leaders are eating out of my hand… we’re throwing a party, are you coming? Later, at the al-Aqsa mosque, which will be empty soon anyway,” one lyric states. Israel's Embassy in the Netherlands has lodged an official complaint.

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