Previously, the username was owned by Israel Meléndez, a Miami-based owner of a pornographic website. He obtain this account in 2007 but soon found himself flooded with messages criticising the policies of the Israeli government by users who thought that @Israel was the official Twitter account of Israel.
For this reason Meléndez let the account sit largely unused until recently when he logged and found a message from the government inquiring if Israel could be bought. They offered Meléndez an undisclosed sum of money to hand over control of the account, and he gladly agreed last month.
The account has now officially changed hands, and the purchase was confirmed by Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who declined to disclose how much was paid for the account. He said, “We thought we could put it to better use than he did.”