**Update** The Jerusalem Post is reporting that the actual price was $3,000.
According to several news reports, including one in the New York Times, Israel bought the rights to use the @israel Twitter handle found at Twitter.com/israel. Although the price was not revealed in the Times article, it was reported to be in the six figure range by The First Post. Because of Twitter rules preventing the sale of Twitter accounts, the transaction was completed via a loophole.
I am not really surprised that the state of Israel would want to have this Twitter handle with Twitter’s popularity still high and its huge reach. Looking back a couple of years, however, it does seem strange that Israel would not pay seven figures for something that would seem to be even more important to the country and its tourism industry: Israel.com.
You may recall, Israel.com was up for an auction held by Moniker during TRAFFIC, and the reserve price was reportedly $5,500,000. The domain name did not sell during the live auction, but it was reportedly sold for $5,880,000, according to an article in Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.
Since the Whois information is private and since the domain name is currently parked, it does not appear that the state of Israel was the buyer of this domain name. It’s interesting that the state of Israel would pay a reported 6 figure sum for a Twitter handle, but they weren’t interested in buying Israel.com for $5.5 million when it was up for auction.