Absorption Ministry calls on speakers of foreign languages to devote time for the Internet PR war.
By JONATHAN BECK
Israel's newest weapon on the public relations front is "an army of bloggers," according to a statement issued by the Absorption Ministry Sunday afternoon.
In cooperation with the Foreign Ministry's Public Relations Department, the Absorption Ministry has initiated a statewide effort to locate volunteers who speak other languages, to take part in the country's PR efforts over the Internet.
The volunteers will post comments in their native languages - including English, French, Spanish, German and others - on anti-Israel Web sites and blogs, presenting an Israeli perspective on the Middle East.
During the past few years, a significant change has occurred in the realm of public relations communications, the ministry statement said, noting that the Internet has created a new arena of "PR warfare."
The main weakness in Israel's hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts is the current lack of people willing to sit in front of their computers and comment in languages other than Hebrew. The comments would concentrate on positive aspects of Israeli life and accounts of the hardship Israelis suffer while living under a constant threat of terror.
The Absorption Ministry is seeking new immigrants willing to volunteer for the effort, and will forward their contact information to the Foreign Ministry. The volunteers will be briefed, given up-to-date material and referred to problematic Web sites where an Israeli perspective is badly needed.
"In recent years, the Absorption Ministry has invested many resources in developing work in cyberspace out of an understanding that the Internet is a key to the future," Absorption Minister Eli Aflalo said. Aflalo added that the ministry had decided to "answer the challenge and attempt to form a pool of Israeli commentators in languages that can bolster Israel's public relations in the virtual world and answer all the Israel-bashers who spread the seeds of hate."
Ministry director-general Erez Halfon said that "new immigrants have all been a strong Zionist nucleus which has contributed to the state's endurance. I call on new immigrants to join the Israeli hasbara ranks and thus contribute to improving the country's image throughout the world."
New immigrants wishing to volunteer can send their personal details (full name, phone number, e-mail address and native language) to email@example.com
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