IDF spokesperson misidentified as ‘journalist' arrested for reporting on Israeli deaths

By: Ishita Goel
November 9 2023

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IDF spokesperson misidentified as ‘journalist' arrested for reporting on Israeli deaths

Screenshots of X, Facebook posts claiming that the attached video shows an Israeli journalist who reported on deaths of soldiers and was consequently arrested. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows IDF's Spanish spokesperson Roni Kaplan showing bodies of Israelis killed in the conflict inside a container in Israel.

Claim ID 53ba319e

What's the claim?

Amid the Israel-Hamas conflict that began on October 7, 2023, a video viral on social media shows a man in uniform walking through a container where what appears to be body bags are placed on metal racks. Social media users alleged that the man is a 'famous' Israeli journalist, Ephraim Mordechai, who has been arrested for his shocking allegations about a scene from a Tel Aviv hospital showing Israeli Defence Force (IDF) soldiers' bodies stacked into a "freezer lorry."

The video has been shared on social media platforms Facebook and X. Links to these posts can be found archived here, here, and here.

Screenshot of claims circulating online. (Source: TikTok/X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

What we found

We found that a longer version of the same video was posted by IDF's Spanish spokesperson Roni Kaplan on X on October 23. Kaplan wrote in Spanish that the footage showed corpses of Kibbutzim, an Israeli community, inside containers. 

A Google Translation of his post read, "Kibbutzim and entire towns inside containers of corpses. People who transformed the desert into flourishing fields, experts in the fight against desertification, so important for a world that in 20-30 years will have 1.5 billion more people. This is how #Hamas murdered them the day they arrested Jews." 

(Source: X)

Further, at the 0:59 mark in the video, we can see the name on the uniform, which reads "Roni Kaplan." 

We also checked videos of Kaplan available online, on his X account and the verified Facebook page of the Israel Defence Forces, which show him in uniform, with his name and all the marks of the Israel army's uniform, proving that the person in the video is the IDF's Spanish spokesperson and not an Israeli journalist named Ephraim Mordechai, as social media users have misidentified him. 

Screenshots of videos of Kaplan available on the Israel Defence Forces' Facebook page. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Indian media outlet India Today also published a ground report on the Shura military base in Israel, where they showed refrigerated containers with hundreds of unidentified dead bodies of war victims. At the 0:30 mark of this report, we matched the container and the number written on it from the video by Kaplan at the 0:04 mark that read "MMAU 121 632 3 45R1."

Comparison of the number written on the container on X and India Today. (Source: India Today (L)/X(R)/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

The ground report stated that the containers were used to hold unidentified bodies of Israeli civilians, including children and some Israeli soldiers, killed on and since October 7.

Therefore, the video does not show containers hidden away from public view, as the IDF spokesperson made it public. The India Today report shows authorities at the base opening the refrigerated containers briefly at what the reporter says was a briefing held by the IDF. Further, there are no reports of journalists being arrested for reporting on the containers and the dead bodies.

Who is Ephraim Mordechai?

We found several fringe websites also claiming that a journalist named Ephraim Mordechai had been arrested for reporting on the containers. However, our research found no credible public record of any 'famous' Israeli journalist by this name and no reports published by such a reporter. 

The only person by this name we were able to find was an ex-Israeli soldier who died in 1973. He was first a tank crew member and then was sent to serve in a tank battalion in Sinai.

The verdict

A video of an IDF spokesperson showing Israeli bodies stacked in containers following an attack by Hamas is being shared as a journalist exposing a hidden truth about the deaths. There is no truth to this claim, and we found no evidence of a journalist named Ephraim Mordechai being arrested for any such report.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before