Merkel visit overshadowed as Netanyahu finger-pointing goes viral

The unfortunate image captured at Tuesday's press conference in Jerusalem

The unfortunate image captured at Tuesday's press conference in Jerusalem

An unfortunate image eclipsed an otherwise happy occasion on Tuesday, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel was photographed standing beside the Israeli Prime Minister at a joint press conference in Jerusalem.

Ms Merkel was in Israel to receive the country’s Presidential Medal of Distinction – the first time a European leader has been awarded the high honour - in praise of her support for Israel and her commitment to tackling antisemitism and racism.

But the historic moment was soured when Benjamin Netanyahu pointed his finger across the stage, inadvertently giving the chancellor a Hitler-like moustache shadow across her face.

The image was captured by photographer Marc Israel Sellem for the Jerusalem Post, and quickly went viral – appearing on 10,000 websites in a matter of hours.

Despite the untimely photograph, the event was a historic occasion, celebrating 50 years of bilateral ties between Germany and Israel.

During the press conference, Ms Merkel recognised Iran as a potential threat to Israel and other European countries, but fell short of supporting Mr Netanyahu's calls for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to abandon all nuclear projects.

Last updated: 11:43am, February 26 2014