JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel purchased the Twitter user name @israel from the owner of a pornographic website.
Israel reportedly purchased the user name earlier this month from Israel Melendez, who chose it in 2007, when the Twitter micro blogging Internet service was first getting started, the New York Times reported.
Melendez told the Times he does not use the name because every time he posted using it he got a flood of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments from Twitter users who thought the account belonged to the state of Israel.
While the purchase sum was widely reported as being in the five figures, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the Jerusalem Post that after negotiations the government of Israel paid $3,000 for the user name.
A Spanish citizen, Melendez resides in Miami.
Israel has been working to gain a foothold in social networking, including recently opened accounts for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr.