Apple’s voice-controlled personal assistant Siri was briefly telling iPhone users on Saturday evening that Israel’s Reuvin Rivlin “is the President of the Zionist occupation state.”
Some social media users quickly posted the unexpected response online, questioning whether Apple had been hacked. However, Israel’s i24 News later reported that the glitch was due to someone changing Rivlin’s Wikipedia page. As Siri’s responses rely on publicly available information online, Wikipedia is often a primary source for the personal assistant’s answers to users.
According to i24, the error was on Wikipedia’s page for “several minutes” and the change had been made by a user going by “Arab Man.” The online troll also changed Rivlin’s Wikipedia article to describe him as “the main child of Israel.”
Newsweek has reached out to Apple for comment.
Before the error was fixed, some on Twitter expressed frustration and anger.
“Apple HACKED!” Twitter user StopAntisemites wrote. ‘When asked who the President of #Israel is, #siri answers ‘Reuven Rivlin is the President of the Zionist Occupation State,'” they noted.
Another Twitter user shared a video asking the personal assistant the question. They wrote: “Here’s a video of me asking Siri about who is president of my homeland Israel. Wow just wow, APPLE!”
One user, tagging Apple on Twitter, asked bluntly: “care to explain?”
Rivlin currently serves as the 10th president of Israel. He came to office in 2014, and previously served as the speaker of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
Modern-day Israel, which was officially founded in 1948, was formed out of the Zionist movement. Facing significant oppression throughout Europe and other parts of the world, Jewish leaders and thinkers pushed for creating a Jewish state in the ancestral homeland of their community. Many Jews from around the world began moving to what was then known as Palestine – a territory that switched from Ottoman rule to British control following World War I – during the early 20th century, with the movement growing more rapidly in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust.
However, the movement faced significant opposition from the indigenous Palestinian population, who were largely unwilling to give up the land they had lived on for centuries. Inevitably, thousands of Palestinians were forced into exile, with large numbers living as refugees in neighboring Arab nations, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Meanwhile, Israel and the Palestinian territories continued to dispute their internationally-recognized borders, as the Israeli government largely controls the movement of Palestinians as well as their resources.
Enemies of Israel, such as Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, often refer to the country as the “Zionist occupation state,” using the term to undermine its legitimacy. As a result, many Israelis and Jews around the world view the term as anti-Semitic.
“Anti-Zionism is a prejudice against the Jewish movement for self-determination and the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in the State of Israel,” the Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-hate organization, explains on its website. “It may be motivated by or result in anti-Semitism, or it may create a climate in which anti-Semitism becomes more acceptable.”