No, this video doesn’t show Israeli crisis actors faking their parents’ death

By: Siri Christiansen
November 10 2023

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No, this video doesn’t show Israeli crisis actors faking their parents’ death

Source: TikTok


The Verdict False

Misinformation concerning "crisis actors" have targeted victims and bereaved families on both sides of the Israel-Hamas war.

Claim ID 71c22f1e


Two video interviews by CNN and Good Morning America featuring American-Israeli teenagers whose parents were allegedly killed by Hamas militants on October 7 have gone viral on social media, where some users are claiming that the siblings are actors faking their parents’ death.

Snippets showing two of the siblings smiling and chuckling at times during the interview have been published by users on TikTok, Instagram, and X. One such TikTok video, which has gained more than 15,000 likes and 1,900 shares, stated that “CNN Interviews kids who apparently claim lost parents by Hamas but their bad acting and laughing exposes the fake footage.”

A pro-Palestine social media influencer with over 135,000 followers on X shared a similar video with the caption, “these lies caused the slaughter of over 4,000 people.” Posted on October 23, the post had gained nearly 816,000 views and nearly 19,000 likes. Another X user uploaded a screen recording of a pro-Palestine Instagram account, which had posted the same video featuring the caption “Israel hiring crisis actors to fake atrocity propaganda.” The claim was also published as a news article on the independent Middle East news site Al Bawaba on October 24. 

In fact

The interview segments used to support the viral claim were uploaded on Good Morning America’s official YouTube channel on October 11 and on CNN's website on October 12. While the siblings do smile and chuckle on a few occasions, this is a very common trauma response, according to Healthline and the mental health charity Mind U.K. Nervous laughter often happens in uncomfortable situations, such as TV interviews, and smiling and laughter can be a sign of disassociation from intense emotions experienced after a traumatic event.

Several other credible news outlets also picked up on the story, including the Associated Press, which shared time-stamped text messages from the family group chat that were sent during the attack. These show how the parents told their family members to lock all entrances and how the son texted that his parents had been killed 20 minutes later.

Additionally, the Good Morning America news team visited one of the siblings in the hospital room where he was receiving treatment for the injuries suffered during Hamas’ attack, which adds further credibility to the story.

The Poynter fact-checking initiative PolitiFact concluded that the crisis actor claim was fake, based on the wide availability of credible news sources. Accusations of "crisis actors" have flourished over the course of the Israel-Hamas war on both sides of the conflict, as Logically Facts has previously reported.

Additionally, Logically Facts has determined there are several digital traces of the Israeli teenagers’ parents, demonstrating that they were real people. 

By searching for the person named as the grandfather of the teenagers in the video, a professor emeritus from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, Logically Facts was able to find his page on the university website. We also found a statement regarding the tragedy from a spokesperson for Brandeis University, further verifying the family’s existence. The parents’ death has been acknowledged by an Israel-based education initiative, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation-Israel, where the father had been a previous student.

As a local musician and music teacher, the teenagers’ father was a valued member of his community, and his death has been mourned on Facebook by former students and family members. Lastly, Logically Facts was able to find the Facebook accounts of the parents and one of the siblings from the interview, where the profile photos and friends verified their identity and relationship to each other. The parents’ Facebook accounts have now been memorialized. Links to these social media posts have not been included in this fact check out of respect for privacy.

The verdict

TV interviews of grieving Israeli teenagers were shared to claim that Israel is using child actors to spread atrocity propaganda. There are several digital traces of the family. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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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