Outrageous: When Facebook translates מערת המכפלה (Cave of Patriarchs) to “Ibrahimi Mosque”


An article in Hebrew from the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth appeared on my Facebook page (here: Facebook.com).

I clicked on the translation button to see what it was about, and the result was revolting…

First screenshot, Facebook translation:

The translation says “The Bride and groom came to the Ibrahimi Mosque and won an exciting surprise from idf soldiers. Congratulations!”

However, Google Translate confirms (fortunately) that מערת המכפלה translates to Cave of the Patriarchs:

I’m not necessarily accusing Facebook of anti-Semitism, a human may not even have been involved in this translation.

But the translation is incitement.

The article is about a Jewish wedding. With lots of soldiers (watch the video): facebook.com.

By translating it to “mosque” with no further explanation it pushes the narrative that the Israeli soldiers are taking over a mosque and doing their “talmudic rituals” (which arabs always claim they do).

For almost a century, Arabs used the false claim that Israelis attempted to take over the Aqsa Mosque as a call for violent jihad. Hitler’s ally Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini claimed that the Jews were scheming to destroy the Al-Aksa Mosque and build the Third Temple in its place. The Second Intifada started in September 2000 when then Prime minister Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount, seen by Palestinians as “highly provocative”.

This kind of “translation error” very often goes into the same left leaning pro-Palestinian direction.

The Artificial Intelligence behind the translation engine works from the material it is fed with. Translation is based on searching for the same documents that have been translated into multiple languages, and finding the similarities. So this can mean that on most of the documents where מערת המכפלה is found, a significant number of them say “Ibrahimi mosque”. The AI system then establishes the connection automatically.

But as you can see, Google translation differs… and their algorithms work the same way.

That being said, the mistake must be fixed if is was not Facebook’s intention.

On the other hand, if Facebook refuses to correct it… then yes, there is malicious intent. Because they regularly correct errors by introducing exceptions to their algorithms.

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