Bintel Blog

Israel’s New PR Scheme: Healthy Zionism or Sinister Stalinism?

By Nathan Jeffay

So, Yuli Edelstein has decided to turn every Israeli in to an ambassador. As part of a new campaign called “Explaining Israel” he is putting out pamphlets, running television advertisements and operating a website asking citizens to get involved in a public diplomacy drive for Israel. “We decided to give Israelis who go abroad tools and tips to help them deal with the attacks on Israel in their conversations with people, media appearances and lectures before wide audiences,” Edelstein, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister, told the Jerusalem Post close to the start of the campaign. “I hope we succeed together in changing the picture and proving to the world that there is a different Israel.”

Last week his office said that the campaign’s Web site Masbirim (“explainers”) received 150,000 hits in its first fortnight, and revealed that an English-language site is in the pipeline.

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Israel’s New P.R. Scheme: Healthy Zionism or Sinister Stalinism?

By Nathan Jeffay

Likud Knesset member Yuli Edelstein has decided to turn every Israeli in to an ambassador. As part of a new campaign called “Explaining Israel” he is putting out pamphlets, running television advertisements and operating a website asking citizens to get involved in a public diplomacy drive for Israel. “We decided to give Israelis who go abroad tools and tips to help them deal with the attacks on Israel in their conversations with people, media appearances and lectures before wide audiences,” Edelstein, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister, told the Jerusalem Post close to the start of the campaign. “I hope we succeed together in changing the picture and proving to the world that there is a different Israel,” he said.

Last week his office said that the campaign’s website Masbirim (“explainers”) received 150,000 hits in its first fortnight, and revealed that an English-language site is in the pipeline.

Some are excited by the initiative — as much for its potential effect on Israelis as on the country’s PR. Hagai Segal, a right-wing columnist on Ynet wrote that a “lethal virus of skepticism has been running wild here for years and pulverized our faith in the righteousness of our way.” He believes that “these public relations efforts are not directed at the international arena, but rather, are aimed inwards. Israel’s citizens, who are supposed to use the website’s help in order to promote the country abroad, are the real target audience of this new venture, and rightfully so.”

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