The Israeli embassy in South Korea has apologised for posting a video on its Facebook account that showed an imaginary scenario in which Koreans are attacked by masked assailants in Seoul, a reference to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.
The video, which was uploaded on Tuesday, was intended to illustrate the suffering of Israelis during the recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza, which killed more than 1,200 people and injured thousands more.
The video claimed that on Oct 7, Israel was attacked by Hamas terrorists, who killed 1,200 men, women, and children, and took over 240 hostages in Gaza. It then showed scenes of masked gunmen shooting at civilians and setting off explosions in Seoul, while a narrator asked: “Imagine if it happened to you.”
The video sparked outrage and criticism from many South Koreans, who accused the embassy of being insensitive and disrespectful to the victims of the Gaza war, as well as to the Korean people and their sovereignty.
Some also pointed out that the video used footage from the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, which killed more than 300 people, mostly high school students, and the 2016 Gwangju earthquake, which injured dozens of people.
The embassy removed the video on Wednesday, after the South Korean foreign ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador, Akiva Tor, and expressed its “deep regret” over the video.
The embassy issued an apology on its Facebook page, saying that it did not intend to offend anyone or compare the situations in Israel and South Korea.
“The video was meant to show the reality of life in Israel under the threat of terrorism, and to convey our appreciation for the friendship and solidarity shown by the people of South Korea,” the embassy said.
“We sincerely apologise for any misunderstanding or hurt feelings caused by the video. We value and respect the people of South Korea, and we are committed to strengthening the ties between our two countries.”
The embassy also said that it had launched an internal investigation to prevent such incidents from happening again.