The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) mocked the leader of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on Twitter by posting a short animated video allegedly reassuring the secretary general that his birthday on 31 August was not forgotten.
It was Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah’s birthday on Saturday and he thought no one remembered...— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) September 3, 2019
Don’t worry, we did! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/pXIASfJSnt
The video, published on the IDF’s official Twitter account on 3 September, imitates an animated WhatsApp messenger conversation where a hypothetical user, allegedly Nasrallah, chooses a select number of friends from his contacts, including Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, to create a group chat with a title “You forgot My birthday”.
The video then features an imagined conversation where Soleimani apologises for being “a little busy this weekend” to congratulate Hezbollah’s leader, but asserts that “Iran’s presents are on the way”.
The animated user depicting Bashar al-Assad then adds “Happy Birthday, Bunker Boy!” apparently referring to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Monday remarks about Hezbollah’s leader as the “man in the bunker in Beirut”.
“It’s a whole week of celebrations”, says a message from the mock Soleimani, adding that “unfortunately some of your gifts didn’t make it all the way to you in Lebanon”, which could have been a reference to the IDF destroying an arms shipment from Iran.
The video was compiled in the wake of Sunday's violence between Israel and Hezbollah, where the group fired multiple anti-tank missiles against IDF locations along the Israeli-Lebanese border, with Tel Aviv responding by firing over 100 artillery shells and carrying out at least one airstrike in southern Lebanon. Although no casualties were reported from either of the sides, this was the most violent armed incident between the two since 2006.
The subsequent mock “conversation” between the leaders also features Nasrallah asking his purported buddies for birthday presents such as Type 36 rocket launchers and long-range missiles, stating that precision-guided missiles would be the gift he wanted “the most”.
The video ends with two messages, now coming from the IDF itself, with one being that “Iran needs to stop arming Hezbollah in Lebanon” and the other saying that “the people of Lebanon deserve a gift, freedom from Hezbollah”.
Reactions to the troll video have not been unequivocal, with some users praising the IDF’s “next level” diplomacy skills, while others suggested that the army’s account is probably being run by a kid.
Next Level Trolling.....Hahaha😂— Intl. Defence Expert (@DefenceExpert) September 3, 2019
That is some next level trolling! Well done IDF 😍— Max Bloodnovski (@US_Domination) September 3, 2019
You guys are seriously on some other level 👌— The Supercute Doctor (@Biiiyaa) September 3, 2019
Is some kid running the IDF account? This is life and death and Israel is in the right. Who needs the jokes?— Josh Neuman (@JoshNeuman3) September 4, 2019
isreal defense forces really thought they did something pic.twitter.com/0l80KYz8B0— jaz (@yasminashhh) September 4, 2019
On 2 September, the Hezbollah chief said in a televised speech that there were no more “red lines” against Israel, as one of the anti-tank missiles fired by the paramilitary organisation against the Jewish state apparently crossed the country’s border instead of hitting a territory disputed by Beirut and Tel Aviv.
The exchanges of fire on Sunday came after tensions between Lebanon and Israel escalated on 25 August, when Lebanese authorities reported that Israeli drones had violated the country’s airspace, with one of the strikes reportedly hitting Hezbollah's media office near Beirut. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been a longstanding opponent of Iran’s alleged support for Hezbollah, which he considers a “terrorist organisation”.