Headline about Israelis selling shares ahead of 7 October attack is fake

14 December 2023
What was claimed

A headline in the newspaper Haaretz stated that Israelis “made millions” by betting against Israeli shares ahead of the 7 October attack by Hamas.

Our verdict

This is false. The wording of the headline has been digitally altered and the screenshot is fake.

Posts on Facebook claiming to show a headline stating Israelis made “millions” by shorting their Israeli shares ahead of the 7 October attack are faked.

The screenshot of an article purportedly by Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, which has also been circulating on Instagram, carries the headline “Israelis Made Millions Betting Against Israeli Shares Before October 7 Massacre!”, and is credited to reporter Ido Baum on 4 December.

However, the text of the headline has been digitally altered. 

The real headline of the article, which was published by Haaretz and authored by Ido Baum on 4 December questioned: “Did Hamas Make Millions Betting Against Israeli Shares Before October 7 Massacre?”

There is no record of the faked headline on the Haaretz website. An archived version of the real article shows it hasn’t been titled anything else since publication on 4 December.

A clue the screenshot is inauthentic comes in the use of the exclamation mark at the end of the headline. Genuine news outlets would rarely, if ever, use this kind of punctuation at the end of an article headline.

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What was the real article about?

The article discussed an academic study first published on 4 December (but which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed) that claimed investors betting against the Israeli economy made large sums by short selling in the run up to the attacks on 7 October.

Short selling or “shorting” is a term used to describe investors borrowing and then selling assets, such as shares, commodities and currencies, with a view to buying them back at a lower price.

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange has called the report inaccurate. The authors of the report, Joshua Mitts, a professor at Columbia Law School, and Robert Jackson, a law professor at New York University, have reissued the report on 7 December with a correction on the currency units from the original publication.

But they stated they found “troubling trading patterns” which still warrant wider investigation. The Israel Securities Authority has said it is dropping its investigation into the matter. 

Full Fact has seen many examples of online misinformation relating to the conflict in Israel and Gaza. We have checked dozens of photos and videos many of which are miscaptioned, out of context or depict real events in other places

It’s important to consider whether something is genuine before sharing. Our guides to spotting misleading images and videos can help you to do this.

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