A doppelganger who bears a strong resemblance to Meshet Melhem said that a social media “prank” associating him with the Tel Aviv shooter has caused him no end of problems since it was posted Thursday – including a visit from police and “injuries to my reputation,” said Amar Fidilia in an interview with daily Yediot Aharonot, whose front-page photo of Melhem is the source of Fidilia’s woes.
“I was at a garage in Kfar Sava for an inspection of a car, when someone handed me the newspaper and commented on how I resembled Melhem, and that they wanted a photo to show their friends,” Fidilia said. “I said I wasn’t interested, but they insisted, promising they would keep it for themselves, and that it was just ‘for fun.’
“Afterwards, I was shocked to see it all over social media,” with a message indicating that the image had been uploaded by Melhem himself to embarrass the Shin Bet, which has been searching for him fruitlessly for a week, said Fidilia.
Within hours of the photo’s uploading, it spread like wildfire on social media networks – eliciting phone calls from friends and acquaintances, and even police, who suspected that Fidilia was somehow related to or had worked with Melhem. But nothing was further from the truth, the victim of the prank said. “They say that if you don’t do anything wrong in life you have nothing to worry about, but I have had no end of tzaros from this story.” Fidilia manages a garage, and volunteers with Magen David Adom and the local fire department in his home town of Tira. “I am as solid a citizen as they come, and look what happened,” he added.
Fidilia said that he had been in touch with the individual who snapped the image, whom he was acquainted with. “He was beside himself, and said he had no idea that things would get out of hand like this. I am thinking of filing a police complaint to get the photo removed. This is a shocking incident. People say I look like this guy, but I disagree, and in any event I am certainly no terrorist.”