Israeli hasbara to say it in Persian

Foreign Ministry launches 'Hamdami' Web site to reach some 11 million Iranians who surf the Internet.

By AMIR MIZROCH
July 8, 2007 21:33
2 minute read.
Israeli hasbara to say it in Persian

persian Website 298.88. (photo credit: Foreign Ministry)

While American and Israeli leaders vow that all options remain on the table in dealing with Iran's race to acquire nuclear weapons, it seems that all options are being kept open on the desktop as well. The Foreign Ministry unveiled a Persian-language version of its Web site on Monday that it hopes will speak "above the heads" of the regime in Teheran, directly to Iran's younger generation. The site is part of diplomatic efforts to educate the Iranian people about the Jewish state, "who have been purposely distanced from information about Israel, and fed lies and hatred by the Iranian regime." The site, called Hamdami ("clarity" in Persian), can be found at https://hamdami.com. The site was the brainchild of Israel's ambassador in Dublin, Dr. Zion Avroni during his tenure as head of policy planning at the foreign ministry. The site is managed by the department of Arab communications in the ministry's public diplomacy division. Menashe Amir, the former director of Israel Radio's Persian service, is its editor-in-chief, supervising a small staff who will translate content into Persian, as well as answer questions from readers and provide on-line feedback. Amir told The Jerusalem Post his team was expecting a great deal of such feedback. "Studies show that over 60 percent of the Iranian population is under 40 years of age, and that the number of Web surfers is somewhere around 11 million out of a population of 70 million. So the Internet is now the most effective means of communication to the Iranian people," he said. The ministry has versions of its site in Hebrew, Arabic and English. The Arabic site receives a large volume of feedback ranging from requests for information from students and researchers, to requests for immigration information, asylum and employment, as well as encouragement and of course, vicious slurs. The sites are frequently attacked by hackers. All of the ministry's sites are subjected to constant cyberspace attacks, even more so than the other Israel government Web sites, a Foreign Ministry representative told the Post. The Persian-language site is expected to come under particularly vicious cyber-attacks, as the Iranian regime sees the Internet as a potent threat to its hold on power and is particularly worried about the spread of Western influence through the Internet, especially when it comes to culture and religion. "Iran's regime actively fights against the spread of Internet freedom in Iran, and we have taken this into account," a ministry representative said, adding that the ministry had a department that combated, "in a Sisyphean manner," attacks on Israeli government cyber assets.


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