Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010

Israeli supermarket parodies Dubai assassination in TV advert

Israeli actors mimic scenes in the surveillance footage from the Hamas assassination in Dubai for the supermarket commercial

(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli actors mimic scenes in the surveillance footage from the Hamas assassination in Dubai for the supermarket commercial

"Mossad mania" continued in Israel this week when a supermarket chain filmed a television commercial inspired by the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai.

The commercials for the Mahsaney Kimat Hinam (Almost Free Warehouse) chain shows actors carrying tennis rackets and wearing hats, glasses and wigs — the same disguises worn by the alleged killers in surveillance images released by Dubai police — as they make their way along store aisles.

The actors are seen through the supermarket security cameras surreptitiously slipping products into their shopping trolley. One actor wearing a tennis outfit browses the frozen food section while an actress wearing a wide-brimmed floppy hat mimics Israel's policy of neither confirming nor denying involvement in the assassination, saying she "couldn't admit to anything".

The advertisement even carries the slogans "Eliminate the prices" and "We offer killer prices".

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founder of the military wing of the Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza, was found dead in his room in the Al Bustan Rotana hotel near Dubai airport on January 20. Mr al-Mabhouh had been drugged and then suffocated.

Dubai police have released extensive surveillance camera footage which they say shows the team of 27 suspects from the hit squad they have linked to the Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.

Sefi Shaked, an advertising executive, said that the campaign was inspired by the footage released by Dubai police. He denied that the advertisement was in bad taste, saying that the company hoped to capitalise on the huge amount of media attention generated by the Dubai killing.

"It's a funny take of this event," Mr Shaked said. "We were fascinated by the technique of using surveillance cameras instead of high-production commercial cameras, and the latest events in Dubai gave us a great opportunity.

"All the Israeli television comedy shows have done it, so why shouldn't we?"

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in Mr al-Mabhouh's death. despite increasingly confident announcements by Dubai police that they have linked Mossad to the killing.

Last month The Times reported that Mossad has become popular again in Israel, with stores selling out of the agency's memorabilia and a growing number of people visiting its official website to get information on how to become agents.

Opticians also reported a rise in sales of the horn-rimmed glasses in the style worn by some of the suspects, while T-shirts with Mossad logos were also selling out in shops.

Ilan Mizrahi, a former deputy director of the agency, declared that "Mossad has been restored to its glory days" .

On Monday the international police agency Interpol issued arrest notices for a further 16 suspects wanted by Dubai in connection with the killing, in addition to the 11 already issued.

Interpol said that the suspects had all travelled using other people's identities, including 12 British citizens, six Irish, four French, four Australian and one German who all had their passport details stolen and used in the assassination.

The supermarket commercials are expected to air in time for the Passover holiday season, which starts at the end of March.

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