The third Israeli government institution to respond to Elon Musk’s opinions in recent weeks was the health ministry, which claimed in a tweet that the Twitter founder was spreading “fake news” about COVID-19 data.
Zero Hedge is a far-right blog that publishes conspiracy theories and has been charged with disseminating Russian propaganda.
Musk had responded to a tweet from Zero Hedge. The tweet from the millionaire businessman stated that “zero young, healthy individuals died of COVID-19,” according to Israeli data.
The health ministry replied, “Elon, regrettably, this is not what the complete data reveals. Fake news can be harmful. When questioned for data on chronic diseases, the Israel Ministry of Health responded that we don’t have access to clinical records.
“We know from clinicians that young, healthy people did die from COVID, and hopefully, data on that will be available shortly from our HMOs,” the ministry continued.
The Zero Hedge message from Twitter included a comment stating that the Israeli health ministry “has called this article’misinformation.'”
After the COVID-19 vaccines were released in late 2020, Israel began a widespread vaccination campaign and publicized information on the country’s immunization rates and cases.
The information has been utilized by anti-vaccine campaigners and those who want to distort the statistics to minimize the severity of COVID, the effectiveness of vaccination, and public health professionals.
Another website that has questioned the vaccine is Zero Hedge, which has 1.6 million Twitter followers.
Since acquiring Twitter last year, Musk has engaged with several tweets that promote conspiracies and increase their visibility.
His posts have called attention to untrue or misrepresentative assertions, from the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband last year to a recent mass shooting in Texas.
On May 16, Musk claimed that Jewish billionaire George Soros, well-known for supporting liberal political causes, “hates humanity” and “reminds me of Magneto,” a monster from a comic book who lived through the Holocaust. (Soros, a Hungarian native, also escaped the Holocaust as a young child.)
The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry were among many who criticized Musk’s post, claiming that the attacks encouraged antisemitism given that Soros is the focus of numerous antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Israel’s foreign minister Eli Cohen eventually renounced his ministry’s criticism.
Amichai Chikli, the minister in charge of the government of Israel’s antisemitism-fighting initiatives, likewise defended Musk shortly after.
Amichai Chikli, a member of the right-wing Likud Party and minister of Diaspora affairs, tweeted, “As Israel’s minister who’s entrusted with combating anti-Semitism, I would like to clarify that the Israeli government and the vast majority of Israeli citizens see Elon Musk as an amazing entrepreneur and a role model.”