Israel Start-Up Nation cycling promotes Tourism Ministry at Tour de France

The sponsorship goes along with the philosophy of the team, to present Israel as a normal society with normal people living normal lives, in the hopes that will attract visitors and warm relations.

Israel Start-Up Nation cycling promotes Tourism Ministry at Tour de France (photo credit: NOA ARNON)
Israel Start-Up Nation cycling promotes Tourism Ministry at Tour de France
(photo credit: NOA ARNON)
The Tourism Ministry has been sponsoring as well as collaborating with Israel Start-Up Nation for three years in a row now, with this year's efforts being featured in the 2020 Tour de France.
The logo "Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - Two Cities One Break," which represents the ministry's activities, is displayed prominently on all rider uniforms, equipment, gear and team vehicles. The logo is also used as the backdrop for press conferences and used in visual displays for disseminated social and press materials.
"The Ministry of Tourism chose to advertise Israel as a sponsor of the Tour de France back in 2014. This is closing the circle, as an Israeli team is now competing in the largest cycling event in the world and the Tourism Ministry is marketing Israel through them," said Tourism Ministry Director-General Amir Halevi. "This is an extraordinary opportunity for broad and positive exposure of the Israel brand. This year, in light of the corona crisis, the exposure is particularly high thanks to a tenth of a percent increase in watching sports events on television."
Israel Start-Up Nation, made its way through the general classifications of cycling teams in just five years’ time – from continental, to pro-continental in 2017, to a world tour class team in 2019 – which earned it the ability to ride in the 2020 Tour de France - the first Israeli squad to do so.
The sponsorship goes along with the philosophy of the team, to present Israel as a normal society with normal people living normal lives, in the hopes that will attract visitors and warm relations.
The riders themselves, many of them who were enjoying their first visit to Israel, stayed and trained in the country for weeks to gain a feel of the environment in the hopes that when they return to their home countries they can explain the daily situation in Israel a bit better and justify their decision to ride for Israel Start-Up Nation in the first place.
"The reason we bring them here for the presentation and the training camp, is because they have to learn the country," said team co-owner Sylvan Adams. "By seeing [the country] with their own eyes, they will be able to defended themselves when intrepid reporters that put a microphone in their face and say, 'how could you be riding for that country,' then they can say ‘woah, woah, woah - have you ever been to Israel… No?’ Then they can just debunk the kind of aggressive questioning that they might receive, and really, they have to feel it."
"If you don’t embrace [Israel], you can’t be a rider on this team," noted Adams. "This is part of the discussions we have with each and every one of them. As I’ve always said, I’m the self-appointed ambassador for Israel. Therefore, I’m just doing my job."

Zachary Keyser contributed to this report.