JERUSALEM — It was supposed to have been a celebration of the warm diplomatic ties between Israel and Brazil, but a photograph posted Sunday to the Twitter account of Israel’s ambassador in the South American country, in which a contentious piece of lobster was scribbled out, has caused a stir — and not a small amount of jokes in the Twitterverse.
Israel’s ambassador to Brazil, Yossi Shelley, shared the picture of him eating lunch with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in the country’s capital Brasilia ahead of Copa America’s final match in Rio de Janeiro, where Brazil beat Peru 3-1 to win the championship.
But someone appeared to have doctored the photo first, not very carefully scribbling over the offending lobster dishes of the two men to erase the evidence that an Israeli ambassador was eating something not kosher — unleashing a frenzy of jokes about lobsters, kosher food and sloppy photo editing.
“That’s some really lazy photoshopping of the lobster,” tweeted the account @friendly_gravy.
“Lobster ain’t kosher,” TaliDeer tweeted, reminding the ambassador’s followers.
Another user, MeAskMeAskMeAsk, helpfully drew the lobster back in for the two men, less they forget what it was they were eating on the special occasion.
Ehudk tweeted in Hebrew: “it is possible to put in a sticker or emoji, it is structured in the application. Here, I fixed for you.”
Israeli journalist Noa Landau, senior diplomatic correspondent for Haaretz, tweeted the image and wrote in Hebrew: “Israel’s ambassador to Brazil urgently needs: Photoshop experts at a higher level.”
Observant Jews are only permitted to eat fish that have both fins and scales, deeming all categories of shellfish as non-kosher.
In the past, Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have faced criticism and scrutiny from ultra-Orthodox Jews and political leaders for dining in non-kosher establishments or making a public display of eating non-kosher foods.
In 2014, Netanyahu was forced to make a public statement denying he ate non-kosher foods following media reports of a meal he shared with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in a non-kosher restaurant on the Jewish Sabbath.
Shelley is known to have a very close relationship with Bolsonaro and was the first foreign diplomat to be welcomed by the new president less than 14 hours after his electoral victory last year.
In December, Netanyahu became the first Israeli prime minister to visit Brazil, attending Bolsanaro’s inauguration ceremony.
“This is the first time an Israeli Prime Minister has visited Brazil, and we are forming an alliance with a superpower that has close to a quarter of a billion civilians,” Netanyahu said at the time. “This is another sign that Israel is a rising power in the world.”
Bolsonaro returned the gesture, arriving in Israel just a week before the April 9 general election and saying that his government is “firmly dedicated to strengthening the partnership between Brazil and Israel.”
Ambassador Shelly and Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs both declined to comment on the lobster photograph.