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Using Facebook on the Internet 370 (R).(Photo by: reuters)
Government to use citizens as army in social media war
By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN
Plan to utilize students and other supporters of Israel around the world in the state’s efforts to defend itself in social media.
The Prime Minister’s Office has a far-reaching plan to utilize students and other supporters of Israel around the world in the state’s efforts to defend itself in social media, Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman told The Jerusalem Post last week.

Ha’aretz  reported Tuesday about a small aspect of the plan involving scholarships for local university students who will advance messages about Israel in interactive media. But there are also plans to coordinate social media efforts with Jewish organizations, Facebook groups and with pro-Israel student groups around the world.

“We need a unified effort to explain why we have a legal right to be here in Israel,” Lipman said. “That is key to defeat the movements pushing to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.”

Lipman and the Prime Minister’s Office’s director for interactive media, Danny Seaman, explained the plans in a meeting of the Knesset’s Diaspora Affairs Committee last month. The plans have received the direct approval of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

A government liaison for Israel advocacy on social media is to be in charge of obtaining rapid responses from relevant Israeli officials whenever news happens and generating stories on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on positive steps Israel is taking that the mainstream media has ignored. The messages are to be coordinated with all the bodies that deal with public diplomacy, including the IDF.

“With social media, you can’t wait,” an official involved in the effort said.

“We will get authoritative information out and make sure it goes viral. We won’t leave negative stories out there online without a response, and we will spread positive messages. What we are doing is revolutionary.

We are putting public diplomacy in the hands of the public.”

Several international Jewish organizations intend to be involved in the effort, which is still in its planning stages, including the World Union of Jewish Students, Jewish National Fund, Jewish Agency, World Jewish Congress and Stand With Us. A system is being created to coordinate the organizations’
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