miri eisen 88.
(photo credit: )
People of the year: JPost special
Israel's newest soldier on the public relations battlefield may come from the ranks of the Israeli Defense Forces, but when it comes to the media, the head of Israel's Foreign Media Relations has her own battle plans.
"I hope that one of the things that we can change in the priorities... is how much time, money and manpower are put into the issue of public image," said Eisin, who operates a two-person team, herself and a producer, from an office in the prime minister's bureau. "Israel's public image, its media image, is an immense challenge. I've been involved in it for four years now - which is nothing." Eisin, the first female to serve as the head of the prime minister's foreign relations department, is used to being a lone woman in the field.
In the IDF she was one of 15 female colonels out of 450. Her intimate military knowledge was put to good use last month, when she was called upon to defend Israel's war with Lebanon.
"Effectively, she was thrown into the deep end of the pool," said a colleague of Eisin. "The whole world was watching when she had her first day on the job." Among Eisin's more memorable television appearances during the Lebanon War were interviews with NBC's Martin Fletcher and CNN's Larry King which she gave from the wreckage in Haifa.
Eisin spent much of the war in the north, often speaking to journalists from the very sites that had been hit by rockets hours before.
"What I want to do is give our side of the story and have the [foreign media] bring it out," said Eisin, although she acknowledges that the other side is also fighting its own media war. "I don't expect them to not show the other side. For me a good week is when Israel is not the main story in the world," she said. "To me that's a much more normal week. It doesn't happen very often."
Eisin was raised in northern California and when she was nine moved with her family to Tel Aviv, where she still lives with her three children. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and Middle Eastern studies from Tel Aviv University, a master's degree in security studies from Haifa University, and is a graduate of the Israeli National Defense College and the Staff College. She rose to the rank of colonel in the IDF's Intelligence Corps, where she was head of doctrine.
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