Israel pr, public relations, public affairs and media coaching training. Israel crisis communications pr for idf and the foreign ministry with Joel Leyden.

Israel's PR - Why Israel's Public Relations / Public Affairs is Suffering

Eye On Israel PR
Sponsored by ISRAELPR.COM

Israel's War on Palestinian Terrorism, Barbarism

Are people seeking the Nick Berg video or this image
of murdered Israeli children on the Internet?

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem----May 14, 2004....Who's winning the war?
Well before we can answer that question, is it really a war?
According to the Palestinians, they are only throwing rocks at Israeli tanks.
Their public relations machine is working. And working very effectively.
And most of the world public has bought it hook, line and sinker. As Palestinian terrorists attack Israeli tanks with missiles, rockets and automatic gunfire, the world witnesses Palestinian children throwing rocks!
As Palestinian terrorists pump bullets into pregnant Jewish mothers and execute Jewish babies we only see Reuters, AP and AFP images of injured Palestinian children.

And to make matters worse, we here in Israel obsess about "body parts".
Who's winning the public relations war? The Palestinians are.

We are engaged in two wars - a bloody, sweaty battle of bullets and a real-time digital media war of words.
We are losing both fronts because Israel's governmental public relations and public affairs machine is weak and ineffective. Almost as weak as the metal in our APC's which was supposed to be protecting IDF soldiers in Gaza from land mines.
The PR war defines public opinion, public opinion decides governmental policy and that policy decides who wins. Ultimately, public relations will decide Israel's future security. It's stature as a democracy, its economic health and its very borders.

One must take a very close, objective look at Israel's present PR efforts to understand why we have and continue to lose.
That those who lead Israel's PR war are more focused on domestic Israeli public opinion than world opinion or the opinion of our enemies. Just look at who is in contact with the international media from Jerusalem.
Who are these people? How old are they? What experience do they have in crisis communications management? Who do they consult? How effective is their coordination with other ministries? How free are they to act in real-time? Do they have the backing of Israel's prime minister?
Yes, we do have a handful of professional public affairs people in Jerusalem, when what is urgently required is a well financed and professional army of media professionals.
Just ask yourself one question.
Is Israel's global image better today than it was a year ago?

These are but a few questions.
Israel is now too busy licking her wounds from the tragic loss of 11 Israel Defense Force Givati and Combat engineering soldiers in Gaza. Knee jerk responses of more Israeli military might may appease the Israeli public today but it is impotent, it aint doing anything to deter the terrorists who want Israelis drinking Mediterranean sea water.

Israel's approach with both weapons and words has never worked.
We are still in battle after 56 years.

As for the war of bullets, yes Israel is stronger, more potent and Israel knows that it must use overwhelming force to win a war. But what kind of military force?

During some of Israel's more recent conflicts, the IDF has used to a very limited degree psychological operations - PsyOps. And when the IDF has used PsyOps in combat, she has been more than successful. Israel's successful conclusion of the Palestinian terror siege of Bethlehem's Church of Nativity is one fine example.
But as I write this editorial whose PsyOps are working? Israel or the Palestinians?

Islamic Jihad destroyed an Israeli APC in Gaza with a missile just days ago.
Following their successful attack, the Islamic terrorists held a news conference where they discussed their winning operation. As they talked about how they destroyed an Israel APC, the head of an Israeli soldier was sitting in front of them, displayed for all to see. It was a disgusting and barbaric gesture, but it worked.
As if they were in Hollywood, they had selected the most effective prop, a tool which spoke more than their words. The grotesque image of a head of an Israeli soldier did not penetrate our tanks or F-16's, rather it tore through our mental defenses and exploded inside our collective psyche.

To win this war we must play by the same rules as our enemy.

Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas and Fatah are no different than their brothers who decapitated the heads of Wall Street Journalist Daniel Pearl and US businessman Nick Berg. With both Pearl and Berg, they didn't just kill them.

They posed them, filmed them, decapitated them and uploaded the footage knowing that the Western world, which plays by different rules of combat, would see it within twenty-four hours. They sawed off Nick Berg's head and held it in front of a camera. It wasn't just an execution, it was a statement. A man's severed head was used as a prop in the war of the words..

The tension as the five hooded terrorists stood behind the Cornell graduate turned telecommunications entrepreneur was difficult to bear, knowing how horribly the vignette would end. Seeing the Jewish American Berg thrown down and brutalized was even more difficult. The plaintive screams, the pool of blood, the sawing across his neck and the ongoing religious chanting in the background repulsed us in a way that we cannot articulate. The one thing that we remember was seeing his lifeless head held in front of the camera and then to see it placed, on his corpse as the camera continued to roll. There was something unspeakably grotesque and unfathomable sad about his head being used to make a political argument.

Was this event any different from when the English decapitated Oliver Cromwell in 1658 and placed his head on exhibit for several years for all in London to see? Yes, today we have the Internet and the power of electronic communications which easily finds its way to the masses, into our homes, offices and finally the voting booth.

What have Israelis learned from the barbaric lynching of two Israel Defense Force reservists in Rahmallah? What have we learned from the Passover Massacre in Netanya and the countless buses and restaurants which have been torn apart?

At this very moment Israel is pouring more troops into Gaza.
We are focusing on the physical dimensions of war with Israel intending to widen its security corridor in southern Gaza along the Egyptian border. "It's a measure that we are taking to provide better protection for armored personnel carriers and the soldiers, and to reshape that theater of war so we will enjoy an advantage and not the Palestinians," one Israeli official said about the Philadelphia corridor where five troops were killed on Wednesday.

Yes, we need to widen the Philadelphia security corridor so that Palestinians will think twice before digging more weapons smuggling tunnels, but we also need to concentrate on the mental, emotional side of war.

Almost a year ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told his cabinet that Israel needed to confront the war of words in a more effective manner. The task for creating a special governmental public relations committee integrated with private international PR professionals was given to Cabinet Secretary Israel Maimon. Maimon was given 45 days to create a plan. That plan was never delivered nor implemented.

Our enemies are smart. They don't need tanks and F-16s. All they need is a computer to upload images which will shock you. Images and soundbytes that will make you fear them more than they fear us. To create a consensus to retreat from Gaza for all of the wrong reasons.
Israel needs to withdraw from Gaza and let the Palestinians destroy and eat themselves there.
No more Israeli electricity, no more Israeli water, no more industrial zones, no more convoys of humanitarian aid flowing in from Israel. Let Egypt and the Arab nation take care of their brothers there. But we cannot and will not leave Gaza because of "body parts."

The US was very much on point when they opened the Iraqi war with an expensive and well thought out hi-tech "shock and awe" show of smart bombs hitting their targets in Baghdad. As a military strategy, it is discussed at length in a 1996 book published by the Command and Control Research Program (CCRP) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense of the United States. Titled Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, the book describes shock and awe as a strategy "aimed at influencing the will, perception, and understanding of an adversary rather than simply destroying military capability." In this respect, shock and awe bears a striking similarity to terrorism as propaganda, in which psychological rather than material dominance is viewed as a primary war objective. (The terrorist attacks of September 11 also induced "shock and awe" in the U.S. population.)

We don't need to display the heads of Palestinians to win this war.
What we do need is the immediate, urgent action of Ariel Sharon to deliver his promise of creating a professional, effective governmental PR apparatus which would be directly under his control with private, professional, crisis media logistical consultancy support.

The film "Apocalypse Now" embraced and disclosed the horrors of contemporary warfare and the realities to end it. It illustrated distinctions in combat culture. Actor Marlon Brando who played a fictitious and genius Colonel Kurtz, was portrayed as a "madman" who used the heads of the enemy as a determent. Kurtz was playing the same game as the Viet Cong, using barbarism to strike fear into the hearts and minds of the Viet Cong and win. The US was too politically correct with its clean Amnesty International and Peace Now movements to accept these tactics. So in the movie, Kurtz was assassinated by another US soldier and in real life America lost the war.

Where is Israel's "shock and awe". Where is the creation of Israel's governmental PR committee which would be responsible for coordinating this action and following it up with effective soundbytes, spokespeople and Internet images? Why is the Nick Berg video the number one request on the Net, when it should be images of the four Jewish girls who were shot through the head last week in execution style. Tali Hatuel, who was eight months pregnant, had been driving her car towards a Gaza settlement when Islamic Palestinian terrorists opened fire on the car with automatic weapons. In the panic, she lost control and lurched off the road. The two Palestinian terrorists from Gaza rushed towards her firing their automatic rifles, shooting through the windows at point blank range. There was no chance of escape for the 34-year-old Israeli mother or her young, crying children Hila, 11, Hadar, nine, Roni, seven, and Merav, two.

The Jewish children were still strapped to their child seats as the terrorists pumped two bullets into each of their heads to confirm their "kill." When Israeli rescue workers arrived they found the car riddled with bullets, the carpets, the children's books and toys drenched in blood.

Yasser Arafat responded to the Jewish children's murder speaking of peace and of Israeli war crimes in English as he continued to beg Palestinian children to become suicide bombers in Arabic. The proverbial wolfe in sheep's clothing. Fine PR tactics, really brilliant. In the world of commercial marketing we call this "localized messaging, demographic branding." It's a professional strategy which wins.
And given that AP, Reuters and AFP only employ Palestinian reporters in the West Bank and Gaza, we can be sure that the message coming from Arafat, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah will be heard by millions worldwide.
Arafat is also a master with props. Although he stays away from decapitated heads, he is remembered in the United Nations for holding up both a gun and an olive branch, kissing the heads of dead Palestinian children, eating at his Rahmallah compound by candle light, embracing master terrorist and Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin in a wheelchair and finally, wearing a map of "Palestine" on his military shirts' left shoulder which includes all of the State of Israel.

Where are Israel's props?
Yes, we have a few terror buses making the rounds in New York and Washington, but where are the countless Palestinian suicide vests for which we can provide to each and every lawmaker in Europe, Asia and North America? Where are Israel's spokespeople on a Friday afternoon or a Saturday morning?
As the PA, the ISM and Machsom Watch hand out anti-Israel propaganda to journalists and diplomats at Israeli security checkpoints, where are Israel's media teams to counter this racist, hate material?
Where is Israel's real-time, crisis public relations talking heads? And if we don't have the budget, then recruit professionals as volunteers.
Finally, just perform a search on Google News for the keyword "Israel" and ask yourself why is it that anti-Israeli headlines overwhelm pro-Israel stories. Is it that we don't have enough English news Webmasters in the world to create positive headlines?

Yes, we have killed Yassin and Rantisi. Yes, Israel has dropped leaflets by air in Gaza. That was a good start. But we need to impress the Palestinian mind much further, much deeper that if they wish to destroy this tiny, beautiful democratic Jewish state, they will suffer countless nightmares. We are already accused by the United Nations and our many Arab enemies of committing atrocities every hour. What do we have to lose? Do we truly believe that Amnesty International and those UN member states which are supported by Arab petrol dollars will be our friends tomorrow?

To win this war we must play by the same rules as our enemy. The Americans in 1776, who were greatly outnumbered, did not walk in open formation when they entered the battlefield. They took cover from behind trees and rocks, ambushed by night and changed the rules of warfare. They were called cowards by the Brits but in the end, the creative "cowards" won the war. The British, who out of collective pride could not adapt, lost.

We don't need to display the heads of Palestinians to win this war. What we do need is the immediate, urgent action of Ariel Sharon to deliver his promise of creating a professional, effective governmental PR apparatus which would be directly under his control with private, professional, crisis media logistical consultancy support.

It is time for Islamic terrorists and the populations which support them to fear us more than we fear them.
The time for Israel's "shock and awe" show has been long overdue.


By Joel Leyden

Jerusalem----December 8....The Israeli Cabinet established a committee yesterday to recommend measures which would enhance the Government's international public relations efforts. Prime Minister Sharon gave the assignment to Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon, who will chair the new committee.

Deja Vu?
Two years ago, the Prime Minister appointed Tzippi Livni as Minister in charge of Israel's public relations.
She was given the task of coordinating the nation's PR - making sure that the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry, the IDF and the Ministry of Defense were on the same page. That one, powerful and unified message came out of Jerusalem. Nothing happened.

As a media professional who has worked the Israeli governmental and private public relations / public affairs landscape for many years, I would not blame Livni for the failure of her mission. She was assigned to work with government ministries, ministries which totally lack professional PR people and strategic direction and have an abundance of bureaucrats concerned only with their own egos and territory. She was destined to fail.

Will Maimon share the same fate as Livni? I don't think so.
This monumental task is the same - create one unified message coming out of Jerusalem, closer coordination between government ministries, closer contact with journalists and a request for a larger, more effective budget than the present 9 million dollars. But here is the twist. Maimon will be working with private PR / public affairs professionals - both in Israel and abroad. If these professionals are able to create a mechanism which operates as a private, global PR firm - then we have a chance. If these professionals can advise the Prime Minister's Office as to which sound bytes to use and how to implement these messages - we have a chance.

In times of war Israel pulls together as one large, diverse family.
This was illustrated during Operation Defensive Shield where all of the various government ministries came together for daily morning briefings. Was their difference of opinion at these meetings - yes, but at least we were operating as one machine. What needed to get done - was accomplished. The territorial bureaucrats were basically told to take a walk.

If our troops win on the ground but lose in the media - then whatever bullets they have spent, whatever casualties sustained would have been wasted in vain.

How do I know these details - because I took part in these briefings. The present Israeli Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Ayre Meckel, chaired these briefings. We were working 24 / 7 and got the job done. At times, we were able to be creative, very creative without having to ask authorization from paralyzed bureaucrats above for permission. In war, in real time - there is no luxury for awaiting instructions. Field officers need to take charge. As the war moved swiftly, so did nation's war PR machine.

I remember advising one IDF officer, who had a live interview with one of the world's leading networks, to smuggle an Islamic suicide vest (with fake explosives) into the Jerusalem studio. No one checked us because we were IDF officers in uniform. That was their first mistake. Then just as the interviewer welcomed the IDF spokesperson and was ready to nail her with the so called Jenin Massacre, she took out the suicide belt.
"Before we continue, I just want to show you and our audience something," she said. "This is a Palestinian suicide belt whose purpose is to blow up innocent civilians in buses and restaurants," the officer said. Then came the punch line. "You are all now dead - this studio has been blown up."

There was dead air. Dead air for about ten seconds. Can you imagine what "dead air" is on a live, international news network which reaches hundreds of millions of viewers? It sent home the message in the most potent manner that Israel was at war defending herself. The interviewer could only muster up a meek and even nervous response: "that was pretty dramatic." For which the IDF officer replied: "that was pretty real." Again the studio was silent as the cameramen, producers, sound people - everyone in the studio and the global audience came face to face with the terrorism that Israel confronts on a daily basis. The rest of the 15 minute interview was in our hands, talk of Jenin - one of the greatest pieces of Arab propaganda - dissolved. This was professional PR crisis communications management at it's best.
This was creative team work for which we need to strive for as the the Prime Minister's Office again attempts to produce effective PR crisis communications management for Israel.

The second point that Maimom must confront is leaks.
All of the government's PR strategy for Operation Defensive Shield and for Israel's possible involvement in Gulf War part 2 were disclosed on an Internet PR Web site. To leak PR strategy is no less evil than to leak the movement of our troops. If our troops win on the ground but lose in the media - then whatever bullets they have spent and whatever casualties sustained would have been wasted in vain.

Maimon needs a blank check of authority to get this critical job done.
This mission not only affects Israel's security but has a direct impact on our economy.

The Foreign Ministry states that it is a matter of budget - I say that it is a matter of professionalism. With half of the Foreign Ministry's present budget - Maimon can excel - if he has professional, creative and dedicated private PR people working with him.

The Foreign Ministry states that it is a matter of budget - I say that it is a matter of professionalism.
With half of the Foreign Ministry's present budget - Maimon can excel - if he has professional, creative and dedicated PR people working with him. Names from government that come to mind - Danny Seaman, director of the Government Press Office, David Baker, PR coordinator for the PM's office, Jill Reinarch of the Foreign Ministry and Gil Kleinman, spokesperson of Israeli police. IDF Spokeswoman Ruth Yaron is one of the most professional public affairs people to serve the state, former UN ambassador Dore Gold and finally UJC Israel director, former IBA general manager and IDF spokesperson Nachman Shai.
Now if Bibi could take off his political hat and join this crew - you would then have the Israeli PR dream team!

We all wish Yisrael Maimon the very best of success.
For if he is successful - the country will profit with the saving of lives, economic stability and global anti-Semitism will be confronted at a higher level.

Our Newspapers Fail Us

Editorial - Israel News Agency

"Over at the Jerusalem Post, Israel's venerable English language daily newspaper, rumblings of publisher/staff dissatisfaction are being heard loud and clear. Longtime managing editor, Avi Hoffman was fired last week after he recommended pulling an ad that included language he felt would expose Israel to charges of war crimes. New Post editor Bret Stephens apparently agreed. Publisher Tom Rose was furious and ordered Hoffman fired. The full page ad appeared last Friday. According to Aviv Lavie writing in the rival Haaretz English edition, senior staff at the Post turned to Stephens who told them he would back Hoffman in the dispute. Stephens, 28, was in the US during the fracas, and can't be looking forward to returning to a confrontation with his publisher."

Judy Lash Balint, The Jerusalem Diaries, June 26, 2002

Jerusalem----September 16......There is no public relations or public affairs without a carrier. The most established carrier is called a newspaper. And in Israel the only newspapers which enjoy abundant readership and wealth are the Hebrew dailies – Yediot, Maariv and Haaertz.

As for the English newspapers here in Israel – one is a mere translation of the Hebrew edition and the other is fifty percent wire service copy. Yes – there are some brilliant writers on these papers but their voices become deluded when you have a lack of proper leadership integrated with territorial disputes and corporate infighting.

The senior editors who are responsible for the news Web sites coming out of Israel are among the most professional, experienced and creative in the business but they are forced to work with almost nonexistent budgets. And at least one of these English news Web sites gets no cooperation from the print team. There is no copy desk. If mistakes appear on-line, print is ready to tear these front line communicators apart rather than providing support and constructive criticism. When the ball drops heavily on the toes of the Internet update editors, the senior Internet editors are restricted by budget as to what they can do to improve aging hardware, software and creating healthy levels of communication between Net and print news staff. The editors go into survival mode to keep their own jobs and the young editors are too afraid to speak out for support out of fear of becoming redundant. But do we, the public, understand where the unintentionally made, sometimes misleading encrypted headline and lag comes from? No. When the Israeli English news Websites due to lack of budget carry less and are hours behind the Palestinian web sites whose financial resources are greater - we lose the information war.

Is the Israeli PR message getting through the noise?

Let's call one paper the Tel Aviv Times. This paper is traumatized from a publisher and an editor-in-chief who are at each other throats. No – I am not saying that they disagree on issues – they plainly loathe one another, there is no communication and they have divided the paper into two fragmented camps.

True or not, many say that the publisher is a very difficult person to work with and that since the papers' establishment decades go, morale and resources have never been lower. As for the editor-in-chief – he is young, very young. I would not mind that so much if he was an Israeli citizen. If he had served in the IDF. And if he was able to read and speak Hebrew! How can you represent Israel when you don't understand the Hebrew speaking evening news or what is being said in aisle 4 of the supermarket?

Amazing – no. This is Israel. The guy writes excellent editorials, but has no sense of hard, breaking news. Now, what happens when you lack as much as he does? You become insecure. How does insecurity manifest itself – you become arrogant. You literally, with pride, call yourself a "dictator" to those you work with. This man is a well-paid tourist steering Israel's right wing tabloid off the road.

The other newspaper, let's call it the Jerusalem Standard.

It's views are openly liberal in a time when Israel is literally bleeding.

The red blood on the sidewalk is still warm from a suicide terror bombing attack on a restaurant.

The vital arteries continue to hemorrhage as one in five Israelis do not have enough food to feed themselves, when 25 percent of the population is unemployed.

Yet the paper calls terrorists – those who blow up buses and restaurants, "militants."

Ok, I understand the "militant" word. As a professional journalist you want, you need to be balanced – you need to maintain contact with both sides of a conflict. But the other side here is calling for the total destruction of the state of Israel. They are not interested in compromise. It's not in their vocabulary. I say – leave the word "militants" and the soft understandings for those who butcher our children and babies on buses and restaurants to the New York Times, Herald Tribune, AP and Reuters. Let them be neutral – they don't live here! They do not call this home.


If we have a message to get out, and I say "if" from the PM's office, Foreign Ministry or the IDF spokesperson's office – don't count on the English Israeli press to deliver. They do from time to time. But one cannot live, cannot survive from time to time.

Solution – the Jerusalem Standard, which has excellent leadership and a highly professional and enlightened staff must turn right. The paper must use the talent it nourishes and embraces to protect the country. As a liberal paper being printed in a war zone, it only serves to demoralize. The paper has only one responsibility today - to lead.

It must. Not just through lengthy, verbose editorials, but through the very editorial content we call hard news on page one.

As for the Tel Aviv Times – the staff is paralyzed. They don't for a second entertain the idea of telling the editor-in-chief that he may be wrong on this or that issue. This elitist editor-in-chief will respond: "don't second guess me." I respond – that's how Israel survives, that's how we shine – we second guess each other in the army and in business. This is our pursuit to collective excellence and utter survival. The staff is afraid of getting fired. For in today's market – there is no market. So you say: "yes understood, I understand," as you swallow your opinion and accept mediocrity.

Solution: the staff of the Tel Aviv Times, which is an amazingly professional and talented one whose only real Achilles' heel is the daily infighting over "beats" - an issue which management does not manage, must collectively make immediate changes themselves.

They urgently need to speak with the owners of the paper with one voice and deliver a reality check for both the survival of the paper and the country for which it is printed. The owners will listen - for if they can improve the quality of the paper it can only translate into greater revenue.

Both print and Net editorial staff need professional, mature leadership, they deserve better wages – they must listen to the government and assist the PM's office, the FM and the IDF to get the PR / public affairs job done.

Will this be accomplished. No. We are all too busy counting each and every cherished shekel. Staring at each person who boards a bus or walks past the security guard lined stores as we pray that a terror bomber is not within striking distance.

So as a few of our Israeli newspaper editor-in-chiefs play cerebral masturbation as they collect 40 thousand shekels a month and enjoy obscure, academic verse from those who eat breakfast at Harvard and Cambridge – we suffer and await better days. Problem is, we are losing the wars – the security, economic and information wars.
If we don't start getting our PR messages out effectively with the greatest potency for which we are physically, emotionally able to for the domestic, foreign public and the Islamic extremist enemy who sits on our doorstep, we will be inviting our worst nightmare to be realized since the second world war.

- 30 -

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Sharon, Regev, Yaron and Seaman Execute Brilliant Public Affairs Strategy

Jerusalem----March 22.....In Hollywood an empty auditorium spells disaster, but today in the Government's National Information Center in Tel Aviv the empty chairs epitomize success. Without going into the fine details of governmental public affairs strategy - which would only harm the nation - Jewish and Israeli media professionals can now be proud of a public affairs apparatus which is equilvant to anything that Burson-Marsteller or Hill and Knowlton could churn out!

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has placed the full power of his office and his own dedication to make Israel's image shine at a time when the most ardent anti-semetics would love to blame the Gulf War on Israel.
It was Sharon who appointed Brig. General Miri Regev as Coordinator for Information during the Iraq War.
And Regev has produced a strategy which is highly organized and effective. Implementing this strategy is the Foreign Ministry, the Government Press Office, the Army Spokesperson's Office, the National Police and many other ministries finally working with unity and one message.

Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman was appointed by Sharon to direct the newly established National Information Center in Tel Aviv. "It took months of planning, but the result is a media oriented center structured for the best flow of information for both the domestic Israeli public and international media outlets", says Seaman. "We have unity of message and action. We have a smaller Information Center set up at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem directed by Amir Gissin. We coordinate our actions three times a day and make assessment reports."
When asked if the ministries are still arguing among themselves, Seaman gives a firm "no". "When Sharon and his media advisor Arnon Pearlman appointed Regev, they did so in a manner whereby one of the most important tasks would be to establish a program where all of the ministries would maintain their integrity while working together as one team. This has happened and we can see the success of this action."

Many talented and experienced people make up the governmental team responsible for representing Israel's image in March 2003. Danny Seaman's appointment as director of the National Information Center in Tel Aviv was an excellent choice. Seaman, one of the government's most intelligent, proactive and articulate spokespeople, inherits one character trait that many in government lack - the ability to swallow bureaucracy and harassment and persevere for the good of the country. Another shining star who is constantly on her feet from the Foreign Ministry is Jill Reinarch - dedicated and smiling 24 / 7. And we don't want to forget Supt. Gil Kleiman, Foreign Media Spokesperson for the Israeli Police who has covered more terrorist attacks throughout the country and retained his composure each and every time. A true public affairs hero who rebounds from the grotesque sight of body parts with articulate and balanced messages. A man who can still fight with a confident smile.

IDF Spokesperson Brig. General Ruth Yaron is impressing many people in her new IDF role.
Yaron is by far the most experienced and polished public affairs professional to wear a career uniform in the history of the IDF.
Her recent appointment of Col. Orly Gal to the position of Deputy Spokesperson places a highly organized and experienced commander as her back-up in getting the job done. Another recent move - the promotion of Captain Sharon Feingold to Major and as acting director of the Foreign Press Branch was right on target. Feingold is highly motivated and produces an excellent, warm and creative image when being interviewed by CNN, Fox or Reuters. Lastly, for the duration of the Gulf War, Yaron has brought in Col. Moshe Fogel (res.) to lead the Foreign Press Branch. Is Fogel qualified for this position?
Very much so! Fogel has served as director of the Government Press Office and was recently the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Science where he handled the Ilan Ramon tragedy with the best and finest of professional and sensitive detail.
For Yaron, she is concentrating on basically one task - to keep the nation calm if attacked by Iraqi missiles. She will be the first face that appears on Israeli television screens calmly informing the Israeli public as to what has happened and the action that the IDF is taking to protect each and every citizen. Yaron has gone through many dress rehearsals with the Homefront Command in a newly built IDF studio in the Kirya (IDF High Command) for the worst case situation. Let's pray that we will not see anything more than "rehearsals" and that Yaron can get back to creating a better organization for the every day operations of the Spokesperson's Office.

The newly established National Information Center, based in the David Inter-Continental Hotel, is a very impressive operation. As one walks into the carpeted ballroom center you are immediately received by an IDF reception desk, followed by many other Ministry desks and offices. The tone is low key, you don't find typical Israeli, Mideast culturally aggressive behavior here. This is a soft sell. For when peddling truthful and accurate information - one does not need to be aggressive.
Within 60 seconds you can find yourself in a huge Communications Room which has over 40 computers and another 40 laptop stations designed to provide rapid Internet connections. Israel's largest ISP - Netvision - is responsible for the Internet and computer operations and has at least one very friendly supervisor approaching all who tap the keyboards asking if they need assistance. Courteous service has arrived in Israel!
As one looks up from one of the many computer terminals - four large color screens hang from the room's ceiling - projecting the latest news from four local and international television networks. Immediately adjacent to the Communications Room is a large briefing center with space for over 400 journalists. A large stage is set up at the back of the room with signs reserving space for CNN, BBC and Sky camera crews. At the other end of the room is a podium with Israeli flags draped on each side. The room is dark. Not one briefing has taken place. But Israel is ready.

The INA asked Seaman how he feels about having an empty press center. Perhaps only a handful of reporters can be seen within the entire complex. "Let's hope it continues this way," states Seaman. "We should always be prepared and have little to do."

In the worst of times the best of Israel has always stood up and is today making a true difference in the information war. We all have much to be proud of as Israel slowly but successfully adapts to the art of international media relations.
Abba Eban would be smiling today if he would have lived to witness how these various ministries, with a variety of agendas and egos are working together - finally - as one team - as one nation.

Israel Mourns the Loss of Abba Eban,
the Government's First Public Affairs Professional


Jerusalem------October 16......There are very few Israeli public relations / public affairs spokespeople who work for Israeli government ministries who are truly professional in working with the foreign media in Israel, in addition to being courageous enough to take them on.

Danny Seaman, is one of these professionals. An honest, clean and fresh breeze which permeates through the dusty and beaucratic offices in Jerusalem.

Below, Israel Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman speaks his mind without fear or censorship:

Interview with GPO Director Danny Seaman

Source: Kol Ha'Ir -----October 11........ Danny Seaman knows exactly why the State of Israel looks so bad on television screens around the world.
"At the direct instruction of the Palestinian Authority," explains the director of the Government Press Office (GPO), "the offices of the foreign networks in Jerusalem are compelled to hire Palestinian directors and producers. Those people determine what is broadcast. The journalists will certainly deny that, but that is reality."

Q: What makes you so sure?
"A lot of sources that, if exposed, will be compromised professionally.
Those are people who were outraged by the events in those offices."
Q: Which offices are we talking about?
"The most senior are the Associated Press and Reuters, which provide information to hundreds of millions of people around the world. On the
second level are the major television networks, CNN and the BBC, and the American stations, ABC and CBS."
Seaman claims that the Palestinian workers at the various networks work
with complete coordination. But that is nothing. "Three senior producers,"
alleges the GPO director with deep internal conviction, "were coordinated with Marwan Barghouti. He used to call them and inform them about what was about to happen. They always received early warning about gunfire on Gilo.
Then they shot for TV only the Israeli response fire on Beit Jala. Those
producers advised Barghouti how to get the Palestinian message across better."

Q: After the accusations give me some names.
"I'm not prepared to divulge details. Everyone who deals with this
knows who they are."
In his professional capacity Seaman mediates between the foreign journalists and the various authorities in Israel. While the latter receive ample representation, the former are perceived as a rather bothersome nuisance. Seaman is not ashamed to admit it.
He considers the foreign correspondents to be a bunch of spoiled brats that until now has received privileged conditions and has repaid that by giving back the finger.
"They've grown accustomed to being treated very freely in Israel," said
Seaman, "but the liberty that we gave them was abused."
Seaman, a civil servant, does not mince words when he describes the foreign media's conduct in Israel. He levels harsh accusations at the foreign correspondents, some of which sound rather odd. Not only are they entwined with the Palestinian Authority by means of a Gordian knot, but
they also steal Israelis' livelihoods. But things here will be A.O.K soon enough. Seaman will set those gentiles straight.

Last week Ma'ariv reported that the GPO would issue press cards to foreign photographers and production staffers only if they obtained a work permit from the Labor and Welfare Ministry and a visa from the Interior Ministry. At stake is an old law that has never been enforced until now. It means that the number of foreign workers in offices in Israel is expected to
be cut substantially. But even before Seaman decided to revoke the press
cards from all the residents of the territories.
Officials at the news agencies and the networks find it very difficult
to understand, or at least feign innocence, as to what exactly it is that Danny Seaman wants from them. Israelis, after all, are barred from entering the
territories, say the office managers and, therefore, without foreign
photographers and Palestinian reporters it is very difficult to work and
perhaps even impossible. They reject with disdain Seaman's allegations
about pro-Palestinian coverage. "I've had Palestinian workers for years already,"
says Charles Enderlin, the veteran France 2 TV correspondent, "and they have proven their professionalism. Regardless, there is no bureau chief who allows his Palestinian assistant to decide what is broadcast. I deny that allegation outright."
"We don't make the news, we only broadcast it," say the foreign journalists defensively. Quite a few of them feel, even if they won't say so explicitly, that someone who didn't like the message has decided to kill the messenger.

Seaman, 41, was born in Germany. His father was a member of the US Airforce, and his family followed him around across the world. In 1971 they immigrated to Israel and settled in Ashkelon. Seaman served in the paratroopers, and after his discharge studied political science in New
At the same time he also began to do public relations work for the Israeli consulate in New York. When he returned to Israel in 1990 he found work in
the GPO. He spent two years with the IDF Spokesman's Office, and in January
2001 was appointed director of the GPO. "I am the first director who was
not appointed for political reasons," he says proudly.
Seaman defines his job as "dual and restrictive. On the one hand, I
need to represent the State of Israel and its interests to the foreign media,
and on the other hand, I am supposed to represent the foreign reporters to the
government and to create an appropriate media atmosphere for them.
the one role supersedes and other times the other does."

Q: Which is more dominant now?
"Today there is a greater need to look out for the State of Israel's interests because we are in an emergency situation."
The impression is that Israel has nothing to be concerned about, Seaman
is doing his job. He always arrives at the scenes of the major terror
attacks and tries to help the journalists gain access as quickly as possible to the material. Seaman has also made a point of attending Marwan Barghouti's trial. "The GPO is not covering the trial," he explains, "but it would be negligent were we not to capitalize on this event for public relations. Our job is to allow coverage." MK Ahmed Tibi, who also has used
the trial for public relations purposes, is angry at Seaman. "Seaman's behavior in the court room is beyond the pale," says Tibi. "He asks the journalists to interview the families of terror victims. That is none of his business, that is an editor's job."
Seaman fought back: "Ahmed Tibi would be pleased were the State of Israel
not to exist at all," says Seaman. "So he finds it jarring that the state
is doing its job. I would urge him to learn to respect the courts before he
comments to me about how to do my job."

Seaman has a clear understanding about how the Palestinians succeeded in seizing control of the television screens. He said that in the 1980s the
Palestinians began to nurture young people who would work with the foreign
press. He also alleges that all of the Palestinians who work with the media
took a course in media manipulation at Bir Zeit University.
The effort paid off, if one is to believe Seaman. "For years," he explained, "the foreign reporters created a kind of romanticism surrounding the Palestinians' struggle. They adopted their point of view and their
terminology." Seaman, who claims to be apolitical, said this process was exacerbated also by the "discourse in Israel. From the moment that the old Land of Israel lost the elections in 1977 the delegitimizing that was done to all the right wing leaders, Begin, Shamir, Netanyahu and Sharon, contributed to the struggle to delegitimize that the Palestinians launched in 1964."
Seaman is convinced that the foreign journalists were able to move about the territories freely and speak with whomever they wanted before Arafat's
arrival. "From the moment Arafat arrived," explains Seaman, "their dependence on Palestinian media staffers grew. And the more the PA tightened its hold on the ground and the closer the date of the conflict grew, the Palestinian hold on the foreign press became firmer. Four years ago began the threats on the Israeli staffers, including Arabs from East Jerusalem.
The Palestinians let the foreign journalists understand: if you don't work
with our people we'll sever contact with you, you won't have access to
sources of information and you won't get interviews."
Seaman is certain that the overwhelming majority of the media bowed to
this pressure. He is not prepared to give any credit to the Palestinian journalists who work in the foreign networks. "Today we know," Seaman says in a heated tone, "that the entire Mohammed a-Dura incident was staged in advance by the Palestinian Authority in collusion with Palestinian
photographers, who worked for the foreign networks. In my opinion, that is the incident that really began the Intifada. Until then it hadn't caught on."

Palestinian stills photographers are also part of the game. "They always stage photographs," says Seaman unequivocally and states that he is prepared to be taken to court for libel. "The IDF announces that it is going in to
demolish an empty house, but somehow afterwards you see a picture of a crying child sitting on the rubble. There is an economic level to that. The Palestinian photographers receive from the foreign agencies 300 dollars for good pictures; that is why they deliberately create provocation with the soldiers. They've degraded photography to prostitution."

Seaman gives the foreign media a five on a scale of one to ten for its coverage of the
events in the past two years. As noted, he believes that nearly all of them
are infected. "They're hostile," he says, and itemizes: they being the
French, the Spaniards, the BBC. The hostility manifests itself in the writing, the tendentious footage, the automatic adoption of the Palestinian version and the immediate suspicion of the Israeli version. In the course of the siege on Bethlehem the Palestinians claimed that we killed a monk. No one bothered to pick up the phone and speak to the Pope's representative to
hear from him that nothing of the kind had happened."
Seaman has no problem harping on the Europeans' conscience. "I accuse,"
he says without a moment of hesitation, "particularly the European press.
The correspondents reported about every slander against Israel as if it
were a fact. The negligence of their coverage contributed to the anti-Semitism
that is now making rounds on the continent, and that ought to lie heavily on their consciences."

Four Western journalists received special attention from the GPO.
Actually, at issue was a lack of attention. Seaman has no problem naming
names: Suzanne Goldberg from the British Guardian, Lee Hockstader from the Washington Post, Sandro Contenta from the Toronto Star and Gillian Findlay from ABC. Seaman accuses each one of the four of inaccurate reporting, to understate things. Now, none of the four are in Israel any longer. "We simply boycotted them," recounts Seaman. "We didn't revoke their press cards, because this is a democratic country. But in the name of that same
value I also have the right not work with them. The editorial boards got the message and replaced their people. When the Washington Post saw that a
smaller newspaper, such as the Baltimore Sun, was getting exclusive material, they understood that they had a problem."

Some of those who were ousted have come out ahead. Suzanne Goldberg was promoted to Washington, and the one reporter who made it big is Rula Amin.
The famous Palestinian reporter for CNN whose reports from here in Operation Defensive Shield were perceived by many as being authored by the Palestinian
Information Ministry, now reports from Baghdad and has a lot of screen time.
Seaman tries to stay calm. "When the CNN executives visited here," he says, "they led us to understand that if we drop the issue of her, she would find
herself on the way out. The fact that she is now in Baghdad attests to the
professional level of the network and to the [value of] the word of its executives."

When the Kol Ha'Ir photographer asked to take Seaman's picture against the backdrop of a television screen, he agreed only if the television was turned to Fox, the cheaper alternative that the cable companies found to CNN. Seaman says he does not regret the impending loss. "Personally, I don't like CNN's broadcasts in Israel," he says, "because it is their European
network. If it were the American network maybe it would disturb me more."

Foreign reporters and editors at the JCS building on Jaffa road in Jerusalem, where the offices of some of the leading foreign media services in the world are located, were rather stunned this week by Seaman's statements. "I cannot believe," says Charles Enderlin, "that Mr. Seaman,
the director of the Government Press Office, would make those kinds of accusations. If that is how they want to do public relations here then I don't understand a thing about the country that I've been living in for the past 34 years."
Enderlin says that there were isolated instances of Palestinian pressure on local issues. He said that the Foreign Press Association in Israel found an appropriate response: "We decided that if a photographer from one of the networks captures a picture that the PA wants to confiscate then everyone is allowed to use it." Another senior journalist admits that some of the Palestinian journalists must naturally support the Palestinian national struggle, but he stresses that he encounters far more often displays of courage. "It is very difficult to produce free media in the territories today, but they succeed in doing that," says the journalist.

In response to this article, Tim Heritage, the bureau chief at Reuters, said "Seaman's accusations are absurd and baseless."
Andrew Steele, the BBC Jerusalem bureau chief, said: "The BBC has an international reputation because of its objectivity and balance. The thought that a few of our more experienced journalists suddenly developed complete dependency on Palestinian sources and that the Palestinian workers decide which news will be broadcast abroad could be funny if it were not so insulting. It is even more infuriating when one bears in mind that Mr. Seaman's office has been barring press cards from our Palestinian staff members."

- 30 -

Israel's Comptroller Report:

Poor Coordination of Israel's Public Relations Effort

Jerusalem----October 7......Israel's official public relations bodies fail to coordinate, wasting resources and damaging Israel's efforts to explain its position, the state comptroller found in an audit of Israel's official spokesmen on foreign affairs and security.

The audit included the prime minister's media advisor, the Government Press Office, the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry, the army, the Internal Security Ministry and the police.

The comptroller found that despite repeated efforts to improve the state's official spokesmanship, there is still no coordinated information system to address the country's needs in a time of conflict.

During the intifada the Foreign Ministry tried to coordinate the efforts of the various bodies. New forums were created but they dissolved shortly after they began operating. The ministry told the comptroller that without formal authority it could not force the other bodies to participate in those forums.

The audit found areas of responsibility were not divided among the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the army regarding the foreign press, nor were joint procedures formulated. Any cooperation that did occur was based on individual initiatives. The result was that during the intifada there were many mishaps "that damaged Israel's public relation efforts overseas."

The comptroller stated as an example of the lack of coordination the information efforts surrounding the capture of the weapons-bearing ship Karin A.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman's office was not brought up to date and even after the first announcement of the ship's capture, most of the information about it was issued by the IDF without coordinating with the Foreign Ministry. The IDF held an initial press conference and another one two days later in Eilat with the prime minister, without his office being involved in the planning. The head of the Government Press Office also heard about the ship's capture on the radio and his office was not involved in disseminating the information. The result was that the handling of the foreign press was faulty.

The comptroller found that the decision from August 2001 to put Tzippi Livni in charge of public relations in the prime minister's office was not executed. Livni said that in the absence of backing, the matter remained as a mere idea. She told the comptroller the job was not given contents or authorities and she received no support even from the prime minister's office itself. The comptroller said the decision to establish a media division in the prime minister's office, taken during Ehud Barak's term, harmed the Government Press Office, which had over the years developed close relationships with the foreign press in Israel.

He ecommended reexamining the information bodies and the role of the Government Press Office in national spokesmanship.

The Foreign Ministry was found to have faltered in dealing with the foreign press under conditions of an ongoing conflict.

Its responses in the first months were based on "improvisation."

Information to the Arab world was also mishandled and Israel did not manage to confront Palestinian propaganda and incitement. The Defense Ministry conducted its own public relations in an unsystematic manner and without coordination with the Foreign Ministry.

Israeli intelligence was not prepared either to confront Arab propaganda, the comptroller added, and recommended viewing the threat of a propaganda campaign as a strategic threat and dealing with it as such.

The IDF responded it had decided to devote resources to the matter soon.

The comptroller thinks the multitude of information bodies is wasteful and inefficient. He recommends establishing an overseeing authority to direct national public relations efforts. Meanwhile, each of the information bodies has to correct its own faults.

In response to the report, the IDF said it is "making great efforts to improve" on the issues raised.

These efforts include establishing reciprocal relations between professional sources in the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Defense Ministry who deal with spokesmanship and public relation issues and that the Prime Minister's Office be responsible for such a body.

The army said it has invested great efforts in restructuring and rebuilding the spokesman's division and improving coordination between officers serving at the IDF Spokesman's department and operational units.

Above communicated by The Jerusalem Post


Jerusalem-----September 18.....It is with the highest professional respect that the Israel News Agency congratulates both the AJC and Israel21c for having made a potent and effective impact on Israeli public affairs.
Below is their news release from today:


American Jewish Committee and ISRAEL21c Announce First-Ever Television Commercials Educating Americans About Israel's Vibrant Democracy

New York, NY; September 18th-Taking unprecedented action, two American Jewish organizations-the American Jewish Committee and ISRAEL21c-have launched a national television advertising campaign designed to increase America's appreciation for Israel's democratic society and the individual freedoms of all its citizens.
Launched in Washington, DC on September 12th, to coincide with the beginning of the Jewish New Year, a time of hope and optimism for the future, the two 30-second ads highlight the vibrancy of Israel's democracy and the values it shares with America.
Each of the spots, one sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and the other sponsored by ISRAEL21c, utilizes vivid pictures and words to convey the vitality of Israeli society, where, like in the United States, every citizen-Arab, Christian, or Jew-enjoys the right to vote, every individual-Muslim, Christian or Jew-enjoys freedom of religion, and every person-male or female-enjoys emancipation and equal access to education, employment and health care.

"The core values of democracy and pluralism are at the heart of making this world a better place. Until people have freedom of speech, the right to vote, and the opportunity to succeed, this world will continue to see repression and wars," said David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. "The continuing strength of the affinity Americans feel towards Israelis stands squarely on these shared values. The fact is that Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East - a region desperately in need of reforms, freedom, and hope."

"We want Americans to know just how much Israel and the united States have in common," said Zvi Alon, founder and chairman of ISRAEL21c. "In Israel, democracy means every citizen of Israel, both Arab and Jew, enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as Americans have in the United States.
We want every American to know that in Israel's democracy, Arabs and women vote, in fact 17 women and 10 Arabs have seats in the Israeli parliament."
Mr. Harris continued, "We want to remind people across the country that Israel was founded as a democracy more than 54 years ago, and though she has not known a day of real peace, democracy has flourished," he said. "Israel is a country with one million Arab citizens, and where each of them has more freedoms than in almost any of the 22 Arab nations."
Mr. Alon added, "The Jewish New Year is a time of hope and a time of renewal. That is why we have decided to begin now-together with the American Jewish Committee-to help increase awareness and understanding of these issues."

For the American Jewish Committee, producing a television ad is a natural step in AJC's overall advocacy efforts on behalf of Israel. Founded in 1906, AJC is the United States' oldest human relations agency, and its central mission is advancing democracy, pluralism and mutual understanding through education and diplomacy. It has more than 120,000 members. Mr. Harris has been delivering similar messages every other week on major radio stations for more than a year in New York and several other major cities across the nation with the knowledge that a strong Israel will bring an even stronger America since protecting freedom is in everyone's interest.
For ISRAEL21c, a Cupertino, California-based non-profit founded just after the beginning of the second Intifada, the television campaign is a natural progression as well. Its mission is to focus public and media attention on the Israel that exists beyond the conflict; the Israel of high tech development and advanced medical research; the Israel that is a force for decency and democracy in the world. The TV ad's democracy message is a perfect extension of the organization's educational and informational objectives which began with its website in November 2001.

- 30 -

Editor's note: You can view the 30 second spot by clicking on the following words: AJC Israel21c


Jerusalem----August 24........A professional group of US media marketing professionals have come to Israel, bringing badly needed media research to the attention of the IDF, Prime Minister's Office and the Foreign Ministry.
They have done what almost no other media group has accomplished - spoken to the MFA, PM's Office and the IDF and survived!

The Washington based group has been responsible for conducting focus and "dialing groups" in the US to measure what topics and words work and which don't for Israel's spokespeople. The only problem is that for all the many hours and weeks that they have spent in accumulating this research, coordinating meetings and passing this material on in confidence here in Israel - it has all been leaked to the press. We are not addressing their noble efforts, we are saying that all that they have said and done in closed door meetings in Israel, the fine details of their research has been posted on a US PR Website!

The polls were commissioned by The Israel PR Project, an effort to improve Israel's image initiated, coordinated and partially funded by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, a political consultant, with support from several national Jewish organizations and private foundations. Stanley Greenberg, who was President Bill Clinton's pollster,
Frank Luntz, a top Republican researcher and Lenny Ben-David, former Israeli US Embassy staffer and AIPAC professional have also contributed to this excellent and highly focused effort.

The findings have been distributed to over 1,000 Jewish leaders and activists in recent days. An excellent move for a leak to occur! It takes only one Jewish leader, who disagrees with the Sharon government, to expose this sensitive research to the PA and to Damascus, Baghdad, and other Arab capitals to undermine this valiant effort.

The Israel PR Project, which has been sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and some praise worthy venture capitalists in California, has performed one of the most professional endeavors of any US media group to come to Jerusalem.
Real pros with excellent and creative ideas!

Using the research's findings, the AJC is scheduled to launch “a national but modest PR advertising campaign,” according to executive director David Harris, of at least one 30-second ad, and possibly more, on four cable news channels: CNN, MSNBC, Fox and CNBC. Time has been purchased for these public affairs spots to be aired after Labor Day and run for a period of weeks. The campaign is believed to be the first of its kind sponsored by a national Jewish organization on behalf of Israel.

As these spots begin to run in the States, the group has wasted no time in taking the advice of Israeli spokespeople to now focus their research efforts on Europe.
We only trust that this group will now be wise enough to limit the dissemination of their new research material to the spokespeople of the IDF, MFA and PM's office - and not the hundreds of lay leaders in the global Jewish community and members of the international general and Jewish media.

It would also be wise for this American based group of PR professionals to take advantage of some very seasoned, international American-Israeli PR professionals living and working in Israel. By incorporating these Israeli based, on-site professionals for media training and other PR related activities, would be cost-effective in addition to saving time in real-time crisis situations.
By effectively integrating both the American pros and the Israeli - Americans consultants based in Israel, who are working and consulting with the Israeli spokespeople here in Israel on a daily basis, would make this a truly global team.

If Israel's governmental spokespeople can get their act together to deliver one potent message, knowing what and how to say it in Jerusalem to the international media based here, then the dissemination of this research material will quickly and professionally filter down to secondary spokespeople in the US, Europe and Asia.

The Israel News Agency congratulates these creative, dedicated media and political polling professionals for coming to Israel's aid in a most critical time.

Sharon and Peres Ready to Create PR Disaster in Europe

Jerusalem----July 17.........PM Sharon and FM Peres agree on very little. And when they do compromise, the solution sometimes results in a toxic mix. Both Sharon and Peres have agreed this week to appoint non-English speaking Israeli Trade Minister Dalia Itzik as ambassador to England.

Israel's PR is weakest in Europe. European media could not be more negative as we witness daily boycotts of Israel by European countries. Israel's PM and FM have just made the ultimate statement reflecting their personal and professional perspectives of Israel's image in the global market. They want to send a non-English speaking Israeli to London.
Please don't misunderstand. We are not talking about an Israeli who is fluent or semi-fluent speaking with a heavy Israeli accent. We are talking about someone whose English is barely on a "survival level" - "good morning", "how are you" and "good night". We are talking about an intelligent individual who is a tiger in her native Hebrew, but less than a kitten in English.
How will Dalia Itzik defend Israel against the relentless media attacks on Israel by the English press - by the European media? She cannot hide behind her press officer forever. She will be asked to speak and comment - how will she do that? Why don't we just hire Yassar Arafat's press aide, he will do less damage!

For once Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which has taken so many black eyes for Israel's image abroad, has said: "enough."
The Foreign Ministry workers union is set to meet with senior ministry staff to coordinate a response to Foreign Minister Shimon Peres's appointment of Industry and Trade Minister Dalia Itzik as ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The union plans to discuss measures to fight political appointments in general and Itzik's in particular, including striking, not cooperating with political appointees, and asking Civil Service Commissioner Shmuel Hollander to rule her appointment illegal.

According to Civil Service Commission regulations, "It is forbidden for appointees to have a personal or political link to a minister in the government unless they have special skills appropriate for the job." "I expect Hollander to check whether she has special skills in the English language, for example, that make her more suitable," a top Foreign Ministry official said, scoffing at her lack of proficiency in the language.

"But language is not the whole story, language is just a tool," the official said. "...Israel's public relations problems tend to be at their worst in the places where political appointees are serving."

We applaud the actions of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. They are not acting out of jealously - wanting one of their own to be an ambassador, but rather responding on behalf of the whole country and the worldwide Jewish community in saying please place a professional representative in London. Someone who can effectively articulate Israel's foreign policy in the language of the country for which they will be serving.

So if you are looking to put your finger on why Israel's PR is suffering - just look at the top - the very top - look at Sharon and Peres and remember that they wanted to place Itzik as ambassador to London!
We pray that Itzik will refuse this post, avoid personal and national embarrassment and continue in her domestic role as Minister of Trade - this is where this tigress is needed most.


Jerusalem----June 26......CNN and Israel. The two have never been close friends.
CNN has had a long history of reporting from Jerusalem with tainted eyes. Never using the word "terrorism" to describe Islamic suicide bombers who tear apart Jewish babies and children in buses and restaurants. At one point in their 20 something history in Israel, one CNN bureau chief had actually changed the sign in their office under an international clock to read Palestine, rather than Jerusalem!

CNN, as all major US media outlets, has its good and bad. Not all at CNN are biased, nor ignorant of the facts when parachuting into the Middle-East. But when it all adds up and when CNN continues reporting from closed IDF military zones - jeopardizing the lives of our soldiers and anti-terror operations - something has to give.
Over and over again we hear about Israelis who have "died from an explosion" when they were actually murdered in cold blood in a terrorist bombing attack.
We recently heard about "settlers who died in an exchange of fire" when in reality an Islamic terrorist broke into a private home and shot children to death as they were sitting in their living room watching TV!
And then we have the family - the Israeli woman who lost both her mother and child in a terrorist attack at a shopping center in Petach Tikva, but CNN rather than focusing on the victim's suffering, interviewed and aired the terror bomber's mother.
But it was not CNN's editorial bias which caused the media giant to panic in the last two weeks.
Rather it was money and market share.

Ted Turner, the founder and former chairman of CNN, was quoted in London last week equating Israel's defensive operations against terrorists - against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and Hezbollah - as "terrorism."

"Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorising each other?" says Turner, who is vice-chairman of AOL Time Warner, which owns CNN, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.

"The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."

- Ted Turner, CNN Founder, Vice-Chairman of AOL Time Warner

This created outrage among the Israeli public and prompted Israel's cable and satellite companies to offer Fox News in addition to CNN. In reality - replacing CNN with Fox.
CNN's chief news executive Eason Jordan immediately consulted with his Israeli PR firm - Eurocommunications - and flew into Israel a week ago. Immediately, as part of a damage control exercise, he had star anchor and veteran Israeli reporter Wolf Blitzer coordinate a new CNN series called: Israeli Victims of Terror. Blitzer was also responsible for anchoring the CNN show - International Correspondents - where again Eason Jordan sincerely apologized for any errors that CNN had made in it's coverage from Israel.
If CNN was to lose the Israeli market, one of the hottest places to file stories from, and lose the world Jewish community - it would adversely affect their networks "carriage" or sales worldwide.

In order to create a series on terrorism's affect on Israelis, CNN had to fly in a production team from London.
These people know very little about Israel, terrorism and Middle-East politics but they do know how to produce. One Israeli viewer complained about the transparency, that the show appeared so staged that it looked like a paid commercial. For CNN to have aired this comment was brave and illustrated professional journalism. But, for many Israelis, this attempt, this compensation to set things right, was too little, too late.
CNN, through it's subliminal, biased messages, had actually encouraged some of the bloodshed for which Israelis have endured.
Many Israelis believe that a week's worth of spin will not buy the Israeli public. CNN must prove in the days ahead through balanced reporting and from coverage of the Israeli terror victims and not the families of the terror bombers, that they are sincere and objective.

Ted Turner, who once described the terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as being "brave", would most likely have described this Islamic suicide baby bomber from Hebron as being "brave" fighting Israeli "terrorism".

CNN's PR firm should have returned their retainer fee - for almost every thing that they did for CNN was wrong.
Israel and CNN come from two very different cultures. Jerusalem is not Atlanta. Israelis are a very proud and direct people who are loyal to their friends and never forget their enemies. CNN had become a clear enemy with Turner's anti-Semitic remarks. Eurocommunications did not need to suggest overkill - a series on Israeli Victims of Terror.
This action only served to pour more salt onto an open wound. The series was not illustrating the pain of Israeli terror victims but rather underscored the pain that CNN is now feeling.
All CNN had to do was apologize and get it's editorial system balanced.
In addition, for CNN to state that they were not "influenced" by billionaire Ted Turner, while still using the e-mail addresses was a joke.

In the end - it was not the Israeli Foreign Ministry or Israeli Communications Minister Rivlin who had forced CNN to become more objective and more sensitive in it's reports. It was organizations such as the ADL, and Camera which had launched massive e-mail campaigns and had created a strong foundation for CNN editorial reform.
Even President Bush gave a helping hand this week by requesting new leadership for the Palestinian people in order to achieve a lasting peace. A politically correct gesture of asking Yassar Arafat to take a long vacation - immediately.
But even as CNN was airing it's Israeli Victims of Terror series and the Bush administration was offering a Palestinian State without Arafat, CNN's Mathew Chance was still reporting live from Ramallah - a closed IDF military zone - spitting in the faces of the IDF and the Israeli government press office.

In addition, the CNN Israeli Victims of Terror series had missed perhaps the greatest victim of terrorism - Israel's bleeding economy.
This issue, where almost all Israelis are having a dreadful time in just paying for their food bills, was was not substantially addressed. Israel has experienced a severe drop in foreign investments, no tourism and unemployment facing 20 percent. If the Israeli economy is suffering then what is to be with the Palestinian economy which depends on Israel's commerce? The CNN London production team, which was enjoying drinks and lavish food at the King David and the Jerusalem David's Citadel hotels, was tipped off to cover this economic crisis - a direct effect of the terror attacks. These foreign professionals responded politely by stating that: "we know what to cover here."
CNN aired the CEO of NICE Systems basically saying that all was OK - sure he was going to say that his company has not been hurt (as AMDOCS lays off hundreds this week) because he didn't want his investors and shareholders to jump ship.

In the end - it was not the good intentions and professionalism of CNN's CEO Walter Issacson which had CNN reverse course. Nor Eason Jordan, who was rejected this week for meetings with Prime Minister Sharon and Foreign Minister Peres.
It was Ted Turner, through his thoughtless and anti-Semitic remarks which may have inadvertently recreated a CNN for which the world public may now depend upon for accurate, objective and fair news coverage coming out of the Middle-East.
Thanks Ted!

The Meltdown Continues

Jerusalem----May 13.........It's been one month since this strategic international media consultant has been working in the IDF.
During this time period, I have been an intimate witness as to who and what is working in Israeli governmental public relations / public affairs. There is good news and bad.



The Israel Defense Forces has a golden feature that no other branch of the government has - it's called reserve service. And in reserve service they take the best. What enhances this feature even more so is the true quality of the career army people that you work with. No political agenda - just pure professionalism in protecting Israel's civilian population.
And they get the work done - but with limits. The IDF cannot discuss politics - this is passed to the MFA and this is where the meltdown continues. Again, I reiterate that the MFA is a large institution with some of the most professional people to be found there. Israel's Ambassador to Ireland, Mark Sofer is a shining example. When asked by the BBC two days ago: "will Israel now kill the gunmen it released from Bethlehem in Europe?" without taking the slightest pause, Mark responded: "No - we look forward to seeing them in court where they would be judged for their terror activities". How did Mark get to the BBC, by another hard working professional star in the PMO - David Baker, who has been responsible for booking some of our best spokespeople on global networks.

But sadly Mark Sofer is going back to his post in Ireland and the MFA is continuing to make fatal mistakes - although in being fair to their PR hasbara department - they are doing their best with what they have from a limited budget and professional manpower perspective. But again - much too little, much too late.

The State of Israel National Media Center which opened up under the responsibility of the MFA in Jerusalem as a result of "Operation Defensive Shield" has now closed - but the media war continues with more journalists in Israel than ever before. Where was the logic to close this center? Yes - officially "Operation Defensive Shield" came to an end - but did it come to a close in reality? No!
The terror hostage taking in the Church of Navity in Bethlehem became the world's number one story and the State of Israel had no media center. THE ONLY GOOD NEWS that we really had - that is that the IDF was rescuing innocent hostages in a Christian church that was taken over by terrorists. And the end result - not one drop of blood was spilled as the hostages were released! And no media center to get out the message............

Furthermore, even when the National Media Center was functioning, on one Friday morning there had been an Arab terror suicide attack in Jerusalem which claimed several lives.
It was suggested to the MFA to hold a news conference that evening with Jerusalem's Mayor - Ehud Olmert - to discuss this attack and the status of the terror victims. Keep the focus on Israel's suffering - not Jenin.
What was the response from the MFA's hasbara department? "Overkill".

That one word summed up the professionalism of the MFA's hasbara department: "overkill".
Not keeping the focus of public relations crisis management communications on the true suffering of the Israeli public was a crime.

PR Activity Transcends to Political Policy - The Boycotts Begin

As a result of Israel's devastating public relations mismanagement, foreign and commercial policy with regards to Israel is being severely damaged. Many governments and companies in Europe and in the States are now threatening or implementing boycotts. The Israeli economy is soaked in blood - it's never been worse. Unemployment and inflation continue to skyrocket.
There is now only one solution - the Prime Minister's Office must bravely coordinate an emergency international public relations response team. I use the word "bravely" because Ariel Sharon and the MFA Minister Shimon Peres have two separate agendas. It is time for these agendas to be placed aside for the survival of Israel.

In having met with one of Israel's largest corporate giants yesterday - they also see the writing on the wall - sanctions and boycotts as a result of unprofessional international public relations on the government's side. They are now discussing the coordination of a private, professional international PR campaign which will protect their industry's market share. This is an excellent idea - let's pray that this idea becomes reality. If we continue to rely on the existing fragmented and destructive PR of the MFA, office lights throughout the country will continue to be turned off.

We need the Prime Minister to act today - and this is where you can really assist Israel's PR effort.
Write to the Prime Minister - demand that an Emergency Crisis Communications Ministry is immediately established which is composed of international PR professionals who are based in Israel. These PR professionals would be bicultural, have over 10 years of international public relations / journalism experience and are more than familiar with both world and Israeli maps.
Sharon and Peres must now work as one entity regarding Israel's image - we are at war - during war you swallow your pride in order to survive. There is no other choice.

Jerusalem----April 6.......As Israel recovers from the Passover Massacre and takes action to defend herself from a steady and barbaric stream of bloody terror attacks, slowly Israel's governmental PR machine is starting to shape up.

The MFA has established a 24x7 media center in Jerusalem, the Ministry is using speakers whose English is more fluent and Government Press Office Director Danny Seaman is assisting in the center's coordination. In addition, we see a shining light coming out of North America as articulate and media savvy Alon Pinkas, Ambassador and Israel Consul General in New York makes more appearances on domestic and international television.
But we still ask - where are the native born Anglo-Saxons - not bankers, VC's, diamond dealers or hotel managers, but the seasoned international media public affairs professionals and or journalists who are living and working in Israel who should be working with the foreign journalists who are either based or visiting in Israel?
It is difficult to understand English, French or Spanish through a thick Israeli accent.
And not to understand the mentality of the reporter - their deadlines and other needs is a fatal mistake.

Does the Israeli MFA have one bi-cultural PR professional who has worked in an international PR firm in the US or Europe?
An Israeli-Anglo PR professional that has also worked as a journalist and understands the needs of foreign correspondents? No!

We also ask, why are there only a handful of computers in the media center?
Where are the telephones?
Why is there no food for the visiting journalists?
These conditions do not make for a "welcoming" environment for those reporters and photographers who have traveled thousands of miles to cover Israel's war on terrorism!

This information war is far from over. The United Nations Security Council today voted against Israel, requesting Israeli forces to withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza, as the IDF searches for terrorists and their weapons. Israeli's representative at the United Nations has labeled this vote as "giving a prize to the Palestinian terrorists."

Once the MFA has experienced international media professionals who can speak their native French to the French media, Spanish to the Spanish media and English to the English media - then and only then with honest facts will Israel win the hearts and minds of international public opinion.


Jerusalem---March 4.....Just when you think that you have seen it all, something comes hurdling towards you like a freight train. Minutes ago the Israel News Agency received a news release from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Different department, put the same fatal media management errors.

Daniel Pearl, who literally gave his life for journalism, is to be honored in Jerusalem. But the Israeli PR news release which was sent out to dozens of the world's most respected and prestigious news organizations announcing the ceremony would have made Danny smile. Smile, because he knew Israel and Israeli culture. Smile, because he would have said: "at least they spelled my name correctly." Below is a copy of the Israeli government PR news release:

the Forum for Combating antisemitism

Tomorrow, tuesday 15:00 at the Western Wall

The press is invited to cover a special prayer for the memory of the 'Wall Street Journal' journalist, Daniel Pearl.

The ceremony will be conducted by:
Deputy Forign Minister, Rabbi Michael Melchior
Minister of Religion, Rabbi Asher Ohana &
The KOTEL Rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich

Members of the Pearl family in Israel will attend as long as representatives of the American Embbacy.

for details-

DFM Media Advisor

Saturated with grammatical and spelling mistakes, illustrating the total lack of international public relations professionalism coming out of the MFA. Okay - someone gave a job to someone's friend, a cousin or political ally. But at least give the job to someone who is a native Anglo or fluent in English!

We deleted the spokesperson's name to avoid further embarrassment. But the embarrassment caused by this and dozens of other news releases disseminated daily by government bodies in Israel sticks. It makes those of us who do professionally practice international PR in Israel into nothing more than a joke.
We do thank the Israel Government Press Office for rewriting the above news release and disseminating it with the highest standards of media professionalism.

A friend of mine from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently wrote: "the situation is not so grim".
I responded that the word "grim" would be a luxury.
For Dan Pearl's ceremony tomorrow - we all trust that the Israeli PR material handed out to both the media and to the public will at the very least have his name spelled correctly!

What the INA is simply stating and restating and putting on notice to anyone practicing PR in any government body in Israel is: please think twice before you communicate verbally or non-verbally to the international media - because if you believe that you can continue to act in an unprofessional manner which damages the image of this beautiful country - you are very wrong!

Jerusalem-----February 20.......Incredible. Truly unbelievable.
The Israeli government PR machine just keeps repeating mistake after fatal mistake.
It's 18:05 - Ra'anan Gissin of the Prime Minster's office is interviewed by CNN. He articulates Israel's latest defensive actions in the most professional manner - both in substance and style.
But the problem is - there is only one Ra'anan Gissin and one Dore Gold!
We are also lucky to observe occasional and brilliant responses articulated by Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Zalman Shoval, Ehud Olmert and Binyamin Netanyahu - who should be named Minister of Information for life!
As we change cable channels and land on the BBC, which recently won's award for the most biased news coverage out of the Middle-East, they are actually attempting to be objective. But it is now the Israeli Government public relations machine at the MFA which continues to dig our graves!

The BBC anchor is now hosting the PA's Saeb Erekat and Israel's Minister for Tourism Rabbi Benyamin Elon.
Elon admits on BBC television that his English is not as good as Erekat's English. Elon is an intelligent and well meaning man but what is he doing on the BBC? Now that the entire world knows through Elon's announcement that his English is not as good as the Palestinians - are we to feel sorry for him?
Erekat, now like a shark smelling blood and encouraged by Elon's admitted weakness, begins to attack and disrupt.
"We want peace with Israel - why are you attacking us?" Erekat keeps stating. Elon tries desperately to explain that the language for which Arafat speaks and incites war when addressing his people in Arabic is different when speaking "peace" in English. Elon's public relations soundbyte is lost. The anchor has her schedule, she must move on.

Again we ask - where - where are the Israeli PR and media professionals who were born in the States, the UK, South Africa?
Why are they not being used to articulate Israel's position on English news networks?
Why must the world see through 30 second elevator pitches that Israel is wrong in attacking "innocent" Palestinians who use their children as human shields and their youth as barbaric, suicide terror bombers.

When we - Israel - realize that we lack world political support for our defensive actions - just look at Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs hasabra department. They are the one's who continue to insist on having native Israeli's speak broken English on the BBC! Then they cry that they can't do more, using budget as an excuse.
Please do not misinterpret our comments - we have the greatest respect for many departments and people at the MFA - but the hasbara department is nothing less than "The Weakest Link". Israeli newspapers Yediot, Ma'ariv, Haertz and the Jerusalem Post have all reported over and over again about such PR nightmares i.e. - when the US started to attack the Taliban - the hasbara department at the MFA was on "vacation"!

Ma'ariv reported that an exchange of scathing accusations took place between the Foreign Ministry and the IDF over responsibility for the international media's lack of interest in the Karine A.

Sources in the IDF Spokesperson's office stated that the Foreign Ministry's hasabra department doesn't know how to take a military operation and give it political leverage, and they have been failing to do so throughout the recent period.

"They had enough time and we supplied them with enough material and footage of the operation. All they had to do was to take the footage and give it to the news agencies, send their people with the suits and ties to give diplomatic momentum to this successful operation…the problem is not the IDF, but rather those in the Foreign Ministry.

The army can't do their job as well. Instead of blaming us, they should just get to work."

Expert: Privatize Israel's Public Relations Efforts
By Greer Fay Cashman
The Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM (January 7) - Lenny Ben-David, a former deputy chief of mission at the Israel embassy in Washington and Israel director of America-Israel Public Affairs Committee, has called for the privatization of Israel's information and public relations (hasbara) efforts.

Speaking in Jerusalem to a solidarity mission of the Israel Bonds Rabbinical Conference yesterday, Ben-David said that bureaucratic and political problems hinder Israel from responding properly to anti-Israel media reports.

Similar problems, he said, are holding up the appointment of a new, articulate ambassador to Washington.

To get around the bureaucratic and political obstacles, Ben-David proposed "a broad privatization of hasbara."

There are many Anglo-Saxon's in Israel, let alone Jerusalem where the foreign media is based that can be tapped to speak for the State of Israel. They work at the Jerusalem Post, the Jerusalem Report, Israel English TV and Radio news.
Why are they not being activated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs?

Bad English Threatens Israel's Public-Relations Effort
By Gil Hoffman
The Jerusalem Post

JERUSALEM (August 2) - The Foreign Ministry admitted yesterday that it had a difficult time explaining Tuesday's IDF helicopter strike on the Hamas headquarters in Nablus that killed six Hamas members and two Palestinian children, but the spokesman for the coordinator of government activities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip had it even tougher.

His department couldn't spell the name of the city in which the attack took place or complete a sentence in English.

A press release sent to foreign media outlets around the world was headlined: "The Palestinian authority is increasing in significant way the incitement actions. [sic]"

Contradicting government policy, the document, which was sent on official Defense Ministry stationery, referred to Israel's practice of targeting Palestinian terrorists using the taboo word "assassination."

"The Palestinian establishment media is devoting her main broadcasting from the morning to intensive dealing to the assassination in Nabulas and increasing in significant way the dosage and the sort of the incitement broadcasting, the media also started to broadcast national songs in very high frequency, [sic]" the first sentence read.

Lastly - the Director of Israel's Government Press Office - Danny Seaman - why is this articulate, bilingual not being asked to speak, why is this professional asset being ignored by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs?

How much longer will the Ministry for Foreign Affairs hasbara department in Jerusalem continue with amatuerish rather than professional, local media management efforts?

Jerusalem----January 2002.....The head of Israel's Foreign Ministry's public affairs division, recently told the international conference of Jewish Ministers and Parliamentarians at a Hotel in Jerusalem that today's public relations is dominated by media events, not finely honed arguments. "When you see us on television, that is very nice. But no one remembers our arguments," he said.
The INA strongly disagrees with this argument.

People remember "soundbytes". READ MY LIPS was said once by President George Bush (senior) and never forgotten. The MFA still does not get it.
When Bibi Netanyahu speaks, we remember and applaud. When the MFA speaks, we remember how uneasy, how unprepared and how awkward most of their speakers look!
They lack native English speakers.
They lack professional media coaching.
They lack bi-cultural Israeli PR hasbara professionals who are working just miles from the MFA. But perhaps the greatest negative is not their fault.
They are part of a fragmented governmental public relations system which does not speak with one voice.
The recent capture of a PA terror ship from Iran with it's 50 tons of deadly cargo was never clearly illustrated to the foreign media in Israel. A lost opportunity.

"What is remembered, the MFA said, are images, and the Palestinians have proven masters at creating images."
Well good morning MFA!
The INA and several non-profit organizations have been making pro-Israel, hasbara images - reflections of the truth - available to both the public and media for over a year. The public can now even purchase video tape documentaries should they have any doubt as to who the good guys and bad guys are (

The MFA has yet to implement an effective, 24 / 7 crisis media public relations response team in Jerusalem which employs native English speakers.
Why is Danny Seaman - Director of the Government Press Office - a native English speaker, not being used?

There exists an arrogance of power at some levels of the MFA, particularly in the Hasbara department, which still appears to override national and global Jewish interests. An arrogance which says "we are OK - you are not".
An arrogance which hurts the efforts of many of the PR professionals in the Prime Minister's Office. An arrogance which transcends soundbytes and images.
The MFA must admit that it is "limited" in the hasbara section - not make further excuses and move forward working with both Israeli and global PR professionals. They must swallow their egos and pride and cooperate with other Ministries, working as a team - as the IDF does - as we all must.
In a war against our enemies who seek to physically destroy us - their is no second place.
We must act as a team, as one house or fall. And we will not fall!

Jerusalem-----October 2001......Since the below report was written, Israel's Ministry for Foreign Affairs has taken action to retain local international PR professionals. We applaud the FM for this action. The FM has also been criticized by the Israeli media for not responding quick enough to fast breaking news. They have also responded to this observation by having their own people serve as spokesmen 24/7.

Now the FM needs to retain local, professional crisis public relations consultants to assist them with media coaching so that their appearance on CNN, Sky News, BBC and other international media outlets appears professional and confident.


Jerusalem----August 2......A calamity of tragic PR errors continues within Israeli government institutions. The latest folly came from the "Spokesman" of the Office of Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. This Israeli department could not even spell the name of the city in which a recent IDF attack took place, nor was the "Spokesman" able to complete a full sentence in English.

A headline of a news release which was disseminated to the foreign media from the above office read: "The Palestinian authority is increasing in significant way the incitement actions. [sic]". In addition, contradicting government policy, the document, which was sent on official Defense Ministry stationery, referred to Israel's practice of targeting Palestinian terrorists using the taboo word "assassination." The first sentence of the news release read: "The Palestinian establishment media is devoting her main broadcasting from the morning to intensive dealing to the assassination in Nabulas and increasing in significant way the dosage and the sort of the incitement broadcasting, the media also started to broadcast national songs in very high frequency, [sic]"

There are very, very few real public relations hasbara professionals working in the Israeli government today. Perhaps less than a handful. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's foreign press spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin is one of those rare professional and talented PR people serving in the government - but Mr. Gissin cannot be everywhere. Much of the remainder of those who hold any kind of authority within government regarding Israel's image compensate for their lack of professional knowledge and experience with an attitude of arrogance. If one has any doubt regarding their credentials just ask which international PR firms they have worked for, the clients they were responsible for handling and which newspapers they had started out in as reporters or editors. Do they understand how the media works, having been a media professional?

Just 48 hours ago, the INA pointed out that the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs had appointed Rubenstein Associates in New York to handle Israel's image ( while ignoring local, professional PR talent which has extensive international experience.
We questioned: How can a PR firm totally unfamiliar with Israel and the region operating from 6,000 miles away - under crisis conditions - control the foreign media based in Israel?

The INA admits that handling PR for the government can be a gruesome job at times. Israel has many Ministries with many egos with different and varying political preferences. But this is no time for excuses - when words in the media can effect critical action on the ground.
It is time that professionals Nachman Shai, head of Israel's Broadcasting Authority, Ra'anan Gissin - Prime Minister's Office and Danny Seaman - Director of the GPO, put Israel's PR house in order. Their first task - hire or retain Israeli media professionals who are bicultural. Professionals who understand the media, understand the region, understand the editorial needs of both the domestic and foreign media - and can spell the names of Israel's and the region's cities properly!

If they can't do it - no one can!