Lebanese paper uses photo of Gal Gadot for tale of ‘Mossad agent,’ apologizes
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Not a spy

Lebanese paper uses photo of Gal Gadot for tale of ‘Mossad agent,’ apologizes

Beirut daily's front page shows picture of Israeli actress when reporting on purported spy who allegedly turned a Lebanese actor into an Israeli pawn

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

Lebanese daily Al Liwaa on November 27, 2017, published an image of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on its front page, saying the woman in the picture was a purported Mossad agent who allegedly recruited Lebanese actor and playwright Ziad Itani. It later apologized for the 'technical error' (screenshot from Al Liwaa)
Lebanese daily Al Liwaa on November 27, 2017, published an image of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on its front page, saying the woman in the picture was a purported Mossad agent who allegedly recruited Lebanese actor and playwright Ziad Itani. It later apologized for the 'technical error' (screenshot from Al Liwaa)

The daily Al Liwaa on Monday printed an image of Gal Gadot on its front page, captioning it as “the Israeli Mossad officer Collette Vianfi,” a supposed agent in Israel’s international spy agency who reportedly recruited and was working with Lebanese actor and playwright Ziad Itani.

The paper later apologized.

Itani was arrested on Friday on charges of “collaborating” with Israel and gathering information on political figures.

He was detained “after several months of monitoring, follow-up and investigations within and outside” Lebanon, said the State Security Directorate General, in a statement carried by Lebanon’s National News Agency.

Al Liwaa’s November 27, 2017 front page

The Al Liwaa caption beneath the front page picture reads: “The Israeli Mossad officer Collette Vianfi who recruited Ziad Itani.”

According to the Al Liwaa report, the photograph had circulated on social media in connection with the spy case. Hours before the Lebanese daily published its report, some social media users had begun sharing the photo of Gadot, absurdly claiming it was a picture of the alleged agent Vianfi.

The photo is a publicity still of Gadot’s character in 2011’s “Fast Five,” the fifth installment of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise.

The Al Liwaa report said Vianfi was meant to visit Itani in Beirut this week, but the plan was canceled after the Lebanese actor’s arrest.

The daily later said the use of Gadot’s picture was the result of an “unintended technical error” and apologized for its use.

A file picture taken on July 18, 2013, shows Lebanese writer and actor Ziad Itani performing on stage in the capital Beirut. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

This summer, Lebanon issued a last-minute ban on showing Gadot’s “Wonder Woman” in accordance with a decades-old law prohibiting Israeli products and contact with Israelis.

Gadot performed two years of compulsory army service in the Israeli Defense Forces after being crowned Miss Israel 2004. There is no indication she works for the Mossad.

AFP contributed to this report.

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the Lebanese daily did not name Gal Gadot but mistakenly used her photo with a caption naming a purported Mossad agent.

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