From Abba Eban to Menachem Begin, and from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Theodore Herzl, there is a valiant history of great Israeli & Jewish advocates who understood public relations and have been of enormous help to the Jewish people and Israel. Today public relations is more important than ever before.
As the great Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky said: “The work of the publicist is a legacy from the Prophets of Israel…Our passion is to speak, to proclaim—“Shouting” is what the same audience calls it, ‘we have no need for words, give us actions.’ One thing that audience forgets is that speech is also an action – Perhaps the most authentic of all other actions. Cities have been destroyed, and more will fall, but what was shouted in the wilderness thousands of years ago is alive and still relevant. The world was created by the word. The world will be mended by the article.”
Good public relations is a necessity for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Here then is a list of the Top Ten Living Spokespeople for Jews and Israel. These are people who help Israel and the Jewish people’s image and brand, and help foster a love for Israel and Judaism.
In no particular order here’s my list – compiled by a Zionist PR Agency owner, not a rabbinical authority or governmental entity.
- Benjamin Netanyahu: A no-brainer, The Israeli Prime Minister is the epitome of a strong, passionate leader with an unwavering commitment to the survival and strength of the Jewish state. He is well-spoken, speaks “American”, and captivates audiences worldwide with his vast Public Relations skills.
- Alan Dershowitz: The famed Harvard law professor is a stalwart defender of Israel. He regularly stands front and center discussing the need and importance of the Jewish state. As he says in his great book “The Case for Israel”, there are “unfair attacks on the only democracy in the Middle East.” While his politics may not always be right, his two fundamental viewpoints on Israel, which he describes and discusses so clearly and passionately in the book, are dead-on: The right of Israel to exist and thrive as a Jewish state, and the right of Israel to defend itself and its citizens.
- Chabad Emissaries Worldwide: It’s often said that one can find two items all over the world – Coca Cola and Chabad. The Shluchim (emissaries) of Chabad work hard to show the beauty, warmth and wisdom of Judaism in cities worldwide, and the simple concept that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson stated was, “Begin with a mitzvah (good deed) — any mitzvah — its value will not be diminished by the fact that there are others that you are not prepared to do.”
- Dennis Miller: The comedian and political thinker is often in the mainstream media discussing the vast dangers facing Israel (and America) by the Muslim dominated Middle East. Just last week he urged America that every time Egypt chose to “screw up”, U.S. aid dollars meant to flow to Cairo should be redirected to Jerusalem. He is charismatic, clear and a cherished voice in the media on Israel and Western values.
- Mark Regev: The Australian-born Israeli diplomat and media spokesman currently serves as a spokesperson for the Prime Minister of Israel and an advisor on foreign press and public affairs. He formerly served as a spokesperson for Israel in Beijing, and Washington, D.C., and excels at his job of protecting and defending Israel. As an article in The Guardian said: “If the men from Mars ever wanted to manufacture a PR man, they would model their robot on Regev. No matter how formidable the interviewer, or how aggressive the questioning, he never buckles under pressure. His disarming Aussie accent and unfailing politeness – he calls interviewers “Sir” and uses phrases like “I beg to disagree” – almost lulls listeners into overlooking his aggression.”“…As a PR performer he is horribly compelling.”
- Elie Wiesel: The Nobel Prize winner and Jewish hero is a living embodiment of survival. The man is a symbol of so much of Jewish history, and has been outspoken on so many important Jewish issues. He speaks and the world listens. As he says, “Jerusalem must remain the spiritual capital of the Jewish people”, and “As a Jew I see my role as a melitz yosher, a defender of Israel: I defend even her mistakes… I must identify with whatever Israel does…” As he has been known to tell critics of Israel, “The nations that kept silent during the Holocaust ought to keep silent now as well. The world that then condemned itself by its silence has lost all rights to judge Israel now.”
- Noa Tishby: Named “sexiest woman in Israel”, today Tishby lives in LA and has credits in film and TV including NCIS, CSI: Miami, Las Vegas and Nip/Tuck. Her personal website boasts of her Israeli army service that she was trained to “wield any weapon like she means it and kick some serious ass.” She is an active and outspoken supporter of Israel. She’s a vocal member of AIPAC and the Israeli Leadership Council, and co-founder of Act for Israel, whose website declares, “We believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security, and that all people deserve the right to live in dignity. Our goal is to share this centrist position with a wide audience to correct misinformation, end demonization, stop delegitimization, and to give Israel a well-needed voice.”
- Bret Stephens: The foreign-affairs columnist of The Wall Street Journal and deputy editorial page editor formerly served as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post. For the last several years he has written repeatedly, and quite eloquently, on issues concerning the Jewish state and Jewish people.
- Christian friends of Israel: From Pastor John Hagee to Jay Sekulow, the millions of Evangelical friends of Israel have been vitally supportive and outspoken. The Christians have stood by Israel, politically, in the media, and financially, and their public support is vital to Israel’s well-being.
- Noah Pollak: A rising star. He’s an American political writer who contributes regularly to mainstream media and heads the Emergency Committee for Israel. He was formally an assistant editor of the Middle East Quarterly, and before that worked for Azure Magazine.
Honorable mentions: Broadcasters Mike Huckabee & Glenn Beck, Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Israeli scholar from Bar-Ilan University), Rabbi Avi Weiss, Ido Aharoni (Diplomat & creator of the “Brand Israel” concept), David Saranga (former Consul for Media Affairs of Israel in the US, whom The Jewish Chronicle described as “The man whose campaigns are re-branding Israel”), Dan Gillerman (Israel’s longtime representative at the UN) and every Jew who supports Israel in digital media in this era of citizen journalism.
In the Torah, as Moses hands over the mantle to his successor he says two short yet inspiring words to this future leader, in Hebrew Chazak Ve-ematz – Be Strong and Have Courage. Be strong and have courage in supporting Israel in the media. The Jewish people of Israel live: Am Israel Chai.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 US PR agency. His book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” has been called “the best book ever on Israel public relations” by the Deputy Speaker of the Israel Knesset, Danny Danon.