MK Danny Danon 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Foreign Ministry’s budget for public diplomacy totals approximately $3.5
million per year, MKs learned during a Tuesday morning meeting of the Knesset’s
Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee.
representative presented the data in the course of a session held to discuss how
Israel deals with Nakba narratives presented domestically and overseas, and how
Palestinian propaganda impacts Jews in the Diaspora.
director of the Foreign Ministry’s public diplomacy department, said the
ministry frequently acts in discrete channels, offering support in ways that are
not necessarily outwardly visible.
His department’s budget totals some
NIS 40m., but only around NIS 12m. ends up dedicated to public diplomacy
activities at Israel’s dozens of embassies and consulates, he said.
[Foreign Ministry budget] is really just change, especially when divided among
all of the offices throughout the world. Today, [public diplomacy] is the
central front, and lectures at overseas universities, Facebook pages and
interviews in Arabic are worth as much and have as much impact as a tank – and
sometimes even more,” Committee Chairman Danny Danon (Likud) said.
called on Zonshein to demand more money in his department’s budget, but Zonshein
said the Knesset ultimately determines the ministry’s budget.
committee chairman said Jews in the US and France are “afraid to assert their
presence at some universities because of Arab propaganda.”
on both the Foreign Ministry and the Diaspora Affairs Ministry to “go from
defense to offense” and repeated calls for the establishment of Israeli English
and Arabic-language satellite television.
“We are seeing the results of
not having Israeli satellite television in English and Arabic, despite the fact
that it would require a budget of $15m. per year,” said Mordechai Keidar, a
research associate at Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic
“The United States, France, Great Britain, Russia and China all
broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the Arab world, and it is ironic
that Israel acts as though it has nothing to say,” he said.
Be’eri-Sulitzeanu, the Abraham Fund Initiatives co-executive director, said
Israel’s media image has more to do with consumer demand than with Arab
“There are also many wonderful and good things that are
published about Israel in the international media. Only recently, Al-Jazeera
broadcast an article about the degree to which the Israeli educational system
tries to educate for coexistence,” he said.