Israel navy chief rebuked over April Fools' prank

An Israeli navy vessel enters the southern port of Ashdod after intercepting the French yacht Dignite/Al Karama carrying pro-Palestinian activists in international waters as it tried to reach Gaza in defiance of Israel's naval blockade on the tiny Palestinian territory on July 19, 2011. The Israeli military said that the 16 pro-Palestinian activists on board, three of whom are journalists, would be questioned by Israel police then transferred to the interior ministry and the immigration authorities, with the expectation they would be deported. JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

JERUSALEM - Israel's navy commander is in hot water over an April Fools' Day prank.

Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg thought it would be funny to instruct his top commanders to prepare for a 10-day naval exercise in Italy, then pull the plug on April 1.

But the information leaked to lower officers, who worked over the weekend to prepare three ships to set sail. Some sailors' parents also rushed to the base to give their sons extra supplies and money.

The military command wasn't amused. It called the joke "inappropriate" and said Monday it was "investigating the incident in order to derive the proper lessons."

Rothberg became navy chief last year, replacing Eliezer Marom, whose tenure was marked by scandal after he was caught partying at a Tel Aviv strip club.

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