Israeli Air Force criticized for Google logo stunt

Israeli Air Force personnel form a Google logo to welcome a visiting Google executive.

Israeli Air Force personnel form a Google logo to welcome a visiting Google executive.

(JTA) – Google likes to play with its own logo, repurposing the six letters in its name to celebrate everything from the birthdays of famous scientists to the first day of summer to Israel’s Independence Day.

But when a senior officer in the Israeli Air Force decided to greet a visiting Google executive by positioning dozens of troops and two aircraft to form the Google logo, it didn’t go down well with some Israeli politicians.

Israel Radio reported Monday about the recent action, which was filmed at the Hatzerim base in the Negev from above by a third aircraft. The stunt drew sharp criticism from some politicians, who argued it involved inappropriate use of military resources to advertise a commercial entity.

Noting the action was “a local initiative of the base during the visit,” the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit told Channel 10 that the issue is subject of an ongoing internal probe. According to the report, the action was meant as a gesture of appreciation toward Google and the footage wasn’t meant to be shared.

But Shelly Yachimovich, a former leader of Israel’s Labor Party and senior lawmaker for the Zionist Union opposition party, said on Facebook that the exercise was “a disgrace” even it was not meant to advertise the firm. She said the display was a sign of “a privatization of the army.”

“What’s next?” she demanded. “Having troops form a human logo for Nike?”

Tzipi Livni, another opposition lawmaker, also criticized the initiative, writing on Twitter, “You don’t need a search engine to know these displays must stop.”

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