Israel Launches Public Diplomacy Department in Arabic
by Zach Pontz
Israel’s Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry has opened a Public Diplomacy Department in Arabic. A statement released by the Ministry states that the department “will be responsible for conducting public diplomacy activities for the media and public opinion on a global level in general and among Arab countries and the Middle East in particular.”
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Director-General Ronen Plot released this statement: “In the era of the Internet and the social networks, when the Internet influences strategic changes in the character of the regimes around us, the State of Israel’s public diplomacy efforts in Arabic are of utmost importance. In keeping with the policy outlined by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, the ministry is placing emphasis on public diplomacy infrastructures in Arabic, both on the Internet and social media and vis-Ã -vis the relevant elements in the media.”
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gal Ilan reiterated in an email to The Algemeiner that the department was started, in part, as a way for Israel to combat its negative image in the Arab-speaking world through the same channels that have worked so effectively in recent regional uprisings.
“There is no doubt that one of the most salient elements of the recent changes in the Middle East has been the role of communications technology,” Ilan told The Algemeiner. “We believe that public diplomacy initiatives – by virtue of internet and social media – have the power to reveal Israel’s true face and reach people’s hearts and minds and to effect Israel’s image among the Arab communities.”