Foreign envoys to tour Gaza-belt communities

Dozens of foreign ambassadors and consuls stationed in Israel are scheduled to tour Gaza-belt communities on Wednesday. The tour, organized by the Foreign Ministry, is intended to give the foreign envoys a chance to see first-hand the suffering in Israel's southern communities caused by rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to join them. The Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for hasbara (public diplomacy), Aviv Shiron, told Israel Radio Wednesday that the ministry has undertaken a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the situation in Israel's South. However, Shiron stressed, the ministry's hasbara budget was only NIS 3 million per year, a sum he said was insufficient to cover the costs of advocacy.