Regev ‘fans’ turn minister’s old web page into fake campaign site
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Regev ‘fans’ turn minister’s old web page into fake campaign site

Mock site makes it seem like culture minister is running for premiership, complete with merchandise section; Regev’s office says will lodge complaint with police

Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks at the annual Likudiada event in Eilat on January 10, 2018. (Flash90)
Culture Minister Miri Regev speaks at the annual Likudiada event in Eilat on January 10, 2018. (Flash90)

A website previously operated by Culture Minister and Likud MK Miri Regev has been taken over by impostors for the second time in the past two months.

Visitors to the site were shown a fake campaign page which makes it seem like Regev is running for prime minister, the Ynet news site reported Saturday.

The fake campaign page included an image of the minister against the backdrop of an Israeli flag, catchy slogans, a video linked to Regev’s official YouTube page, and even a merchandise section where, the site claims, it will be possible to order T-shirts and hats with her name in the future.

The page also boasted a short, unfinished biography of Regev, with the placeholder words “insert more text about military past” at the bottom of the section.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture Minister Miri Regev meet with Israeli medal winners from a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, on November 8, 2018. (Alex Kolomoisky/Yedioth Ahronoth/Pool)/Flash90)

The unknown creators of the fake campaign page did, however, inform visitors that the site was not built by Regev or her team, but by fans of the minister.

Later, the site the was taken down and visitors were redirected to a crowd-funding site for a program to foster girls entering the computer technology field.

According to Regev’s spokesperson, the same website was taken over earlier this year ahead of the Likud primary, and the site then, too, ran a fake campaign.

“Unfortunately, parties interested in harming Regev purchased the domain that had been used by Regev until more than a year ago, a domain that for various considerations was not to be in continued use, and through which they falsely disseminated advertising material that has nothing to do with Minister Regev,” the minister’s office told Ynet.

“Unfortunately, this happened two months ago as well, and following the publication, Regev turned to the ministry’s security officer to file a complaint with the Israel Police in order to investigate the matter and remove the phishing web page that distributes false information. At the end of Shabbat, Regev will instruct the security officer to file a complaint with the police again in order to locate the person who is trying to harm her through false landing pages that she does not have any connection with.”

Regev, a vocal supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, placed sixth in the recent Likud party primary, making her the highest ranking woman on the party’s list.

Since assuming her role as culture minister following the 2015 elections, Regev has caused some controversy over numerous threats to cut state funding for cultural productions and organizations that she deems to be disloyal to the Jewish state. The minister’s threats and typically unapologetic tone have garnered her massive grassroots support in some sections of the right.

A survey conducted Friday, a day after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his intention to file criminal proceedings against the prime minister, found that over two-thirds of Israelis believe that Netanyahu should resign if he is indicted for corruption.

Mandelblit announced Thursday that Netanyahu will be charged with criminal wrongdoing in three separate cases against him, including bribery in the far-reaching Bezeq corruption probe, pending a hearing.

If Netanyahu were to resign — a move that at this point seems unlikely — Regev would be considered as one of the Likud’s leading candidates to head the party in the current prime minister’s stead.

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