In the April 23 print edition, and online here, a Haaretz Op-Ed by Odeh Bisharat (“Idol Worship on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl“) mocks Israel’s Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony in general, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in particular.
Caught up in his mockery, Odeh derides Netanyahu for an interview in which he supposedly claimed he saw British soldiers as a child, although he was born one year after their departure from pre-state Israel. Odeh wrote:
I would guess that Netanyahu got mixed up, and perhaps he heard these voices at some evangelical conference in the United States rather than in Rome. But that isn’t surprising, since we’re talking about someone who once described how he met British soldiers in Palestine during his childhood, even though he has born a year after the British Mandate ended.
The ostensible source for this falsehood is a Yediot Achronot interview that Netanyahu gave in 2006. The interview was indeed published claiming that Netanyahu had said this. When Netanyahu’s spokesman denied that the prime minister had claimed to have seen British soldiers, editors listened to the recording and learned that in fact Netanyahu had not said that he saw the soldiers. Rather, he said that as a child he had played on the playground equipment that the soldiers used.
Yediot subsequently published a correction and apology on Oct. 13, 2006 (pictured below), and did not repeat the claim.
In response to Presspectiva’s Tweet calling Haaretz out for the falsehood, publisher Amos Schocken promised that the item would be fixed, and indeed both the Hebrew and English editions did delete the falsehood from their sites. Editors, however, did not append a note alerting readers to the change, and the correction has yet to appear in print.