On Nov. 1, 2023, a journalist on X, James J. Marlow, posted a photo with the caption, "Israeli actress Gal Gadot who played 'Wonder Woman' in the Hollywood movie turns up [...] for army service."
This caption, as written, was true. Gadot was born in Israel, portrayed "Wonder Woman" in movies and also once served in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Also, the photo truly did show Gadot during her military years, according to Fox 32 Chicago and Jewish News.
However, many users interpreted Marlow's post as hinting that Gadot had been photographed very recently as joining up with the IDF to fight in the war in Israel and Gaza – a conflict that had broken out following Hamas' surprise attack in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. The words of Marlow's original post did not make this claim, but he did add a second post less than two hours later "to clarify" his earlier words:
TO CLARIFY: This is NOT a new picture and when it was sent to me today, I automatically posted it without checking.
But many have liked it and the words do not say it is from today. So I hope this clarifies the post.
— James J. Marlow (@James_J_Marlow) November 1, 2023
In correspondence with Marlow via a DM on X, he told us that he had worked previously with CNN, ITN, Reuters and EuroNews, and was currently operating as a foreign affairs and defense analyst on war in Israel and Gaza. He also said he had received "a huge amount of hate mail" from users who had seen the post.
"I was going to take it down because it misled some into thinking [Gadot] joined this week," Marlow said. "But I couldn’t believe how many were retweeting and liking it, and so I added a tweet to 'clarify' and left it up because I thought it did no harm."
He also told us, "[It] was not my intention to add to the false news all over X and I never wrote it was this week. [It] was just [a] nice pic and I clarified it with second tweet."
As for Gadot's military history, prior to her becoming a movie star she served in the IDF as a combat fitness instructor for two years. Military service in Israel is compulsory, with the minimum amount of time for women required by law being 24 months.
The Washington Post reported that she fought in the 2006 Lebanon war, a conflict between between Israel and Hezbollah that took place from July 12 to Aug. 14, 2006, according to Brittanica.com. The conflict "followed Israeli forces’ invasion of Lebanon to suppress Hezbollah attacks on Israeli settlements."
Since Gadot was born on April 30, 1985, served just two years and also participated in the 2006 Lebanon war, it was initially unclear exactly how old she was when the photo was taken. However, after this story was originally published, a publicist for Gadot told us via email that she was 20 when the photo was captured, not 18 like a popular Reddit post once claimed.
While Gadot wasn't joining up again to fight with the IDF in late 2023, one thing she did do amid the escalating war was sign her name next to more than 700 other celebrity names as a way of showing support for Israel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.