It’s hard to know what to make of Israel’s use of social media. Some of the IDF’s online campaigns have been downright bizarre, like its strange Golden Girls soundtracked “trailer” for President Obama’s visit, or its decision to live tweet updates of the Six-Day War, as if the conflict were happening in real time.
Then of course, there are the more informal cases. Last month, a group of Israeli female soldiers bared almost all, posing with guns in their underwear for photos that found their way to Facebook.
Enter Boaz Toporovsky, a Knesset member who posted this picture of himself “sleeping” at work. Shockingly, the photo went viral.
Toporovsky is an attractive man. He looks at us with those come-hither eyes, tantalizes us with hints of nudity under the shirt he is using as a blanket. His arms are visible and clearly muscular. And the 5:00 shadow … this is a man who has obviously been working hard.
Wait — what was I talking about again?
Oh yeah. The photo would be indistinguishable from the gigabytes of silliness posted online every day — except for the fact that this is a parliamentarian posting a photo of himself, ostensibly taken in his Knesset office, on Facebook of all places. Hard to imagine Chuck Schumer doing something similar. Just a touch unprofessional, dontcha think?
Which might be the point. American lawmakers have slick PR operations that, even when they’re deliberately trying to make a politician look like a normal guy, do so in highly scripted ways that inevitably suggest the opposite. American politics may be more controlled and professional, but they’re also more distant and less interactive. Part of this is obviously a function of the United States being a far larger place. Israel is small enough that its politics retains a certain familial feel, which might actually be something worth celebrating — even if it results in the occasional bout of ridiculousness.