Angela Merkel's now-infamous "mustache" – bestowed upon her by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an unfortunately timed photograph – has had thousands of shares on Twitter and Facebook, and has already become one of the viral hits of the year.
But most of the German national newspapers and broadcasters have ignored the fact that Netanyahu pointed his finger such in a way so as to draw a shadow of a mustache directly above Merkel's upper lip.
One of the few exceptions was the German financial newspaper "Handelsblatt", which covered the incident in its miscellaneous soft news section, with the headline "Merkel and the mini-beard". The newspaper said that while both Merkel and Netanyahu were concentrating on their dialogue about the situation in the Middle East, Netanyahu's harmless gesture with its unforgiving shadow above Merkel's lip managed to steal the attention of their audience.
The Munich tabloid "Abendzeitung" asks in its headline: "How did Angela Merkel end up with a Hitler-beard?" It writes that the French agency AFP has spread a bizarre photo during the journey of the German chancellor to Israel and that the forefinger of the Israeli prime minister casts a fatale cloud on Angela Merkel's upper lip.
But both "Handelsblatt" and "Abendzeitung" informed their readers that Jerusalem Post photographer Marc Israel Sellem, whose version of the picture first went viral, had insisted in an interview with his own newspaper that it was an oversight. He found the image amusing and passed it on. "It was not my intention to insult Merkel in any way or to make any kind of Nazi connotation with the photo.”
Meanwhile, Richard C. Schneider, the Tel Aviv bureau chief for ARD German Television Studio, a public service broadcasting company, posted in English on Twitter: "This pic of Merkel and the reflex it created here in Israel reminds me of jokes about Germans in some UK yellow press newspapers."
Before that he posted in French: "Honi soit qui mal y pense" - don't look for trouble.