An Israeli newspaper sparked outrage after publishing an article that advised readers “How to use the stress from the Israel-Hamas war to lose weight.”
The Jerusalem Post posted a link to the X social media site promoting the story that included the hashtags “#Israel,” “#HamasTerrorists,” “#Gaza” and “#weightloss.”
The backlash prompted the newspaper to delete the article, though the story, which was published on Sunday, can still be accessed via the Wayback Machine internet archive.
“The ongoing state of stress and anxiety in Israel has led to weight gain for many, but understanding how stress works can actually aid in shedding pounds while maintaining overall health,” read the subheading of the story, which was translated from the Hebrew-language news site Walla!, a subsidiary of The Jerusalem Post.
“The article in question was produced by our Hebrew-language sister publication, Walla News, and was uploaded to our website using an automated translation mechanism,” Avi Mayer, The Jerusalem Post’s editor-in-chief, told The New York Post.
“It did not meet our editorial standards and was thus removed once our staff was made aware of it.”
The story, which was written by an Israeli doctor who runs a medical weight loss clinic, was written amidst the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist organization whose surprise cross-border assault on Oct. 7 ignited the carnage that has left thousands dead.
“Extended hours spent in front of the television, lack of physical activity, and emotional eating to find comfort all make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet,” the author of the story, Dr. Raz Hagoel, wrote.
Hagoel noted that “stress-induced lack of sleep experienced over the past two weeks can lead to obesity.”
Israelis who are hunkered down in bomb shelters while Palestinian rockets and missiles rain down on their cities can take solace in the fact that “this current period may actually present an opportunity to address the issue of obesity and stay healthy.”
Hagoel wrote that “shorter periods of stress can actually suppress appetite hormones” and that “stress and anxiety can cause stomach disorders, leading individuals to avoid or reduce food intake and potentially experience weight loss.”
The publication has a print circulation of 15,000 but has about 4 million online readers.
X users blasted the outlet for the story.
“Assumed this was a parody in questionable taste. (The hashtags with #weightloss as a punchline seemed like a giveaway.) But It’s real. And in questionable taste,” author Kurt Andersen wrote on X.
Another X user wrote: “Yikes! I had to double-check that this wasn’t a ‘Jerusalem Post’ fake account. There is a crisis in journalism.”
X user Ashton Pittman wrote: “Hot take: War is not a weight loss plan.”
“This feels like AI-generated text gone wrong,” another X user wrote.