The Communications Unit of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is launching a new media program targeting the English-speaking world in order to promote their military activities and gain international approval.
Israeli air force attacking the Gaza Strip in January 2009.
International New Media program will include a constantly updated website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, according to the news site Arutz 7, and will be under the auspices of IAF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Assaf Librati.
The program will include staff 20 writers, photographers, videographers and editors who support the entire IAF Communications Unit.
Explaining the reasoning behind the new campaign, Lt. Col. Librati said, "The Israeli Air Force is a center of profound research, international cooperation, immense diversity, and advanced technology within the Israel Defense Forces. We believe that we have much to share with the world about who we are, what we do, our capabilities, and our ongoing participation in humanitarian operations around the world.”
It is unclear at this time as to whether the IAF will also be including Twitter updates on its regular attacks on the Gaza Strip and it’s training in the occupied West Bank.
“We see this as a force multiplier and an important step forward in communicating about Israel, the IDF, and the IAF directly with stakeholders around the world,” Librati stated.
The Israel Defense Forces already has a very active spokesperson unit, operating daily with 500 media outlets and 2500 journalists and civilian agents working to promote their activities worldwide.
The country actively uses social media like Facebook for public relations particularly during its controversial attacks, such as the attacks on Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, the fatal naval assault on the Freedom Flotilla aid convoy.
In 2009 the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that NIS 600,000 of the year’s budget would be devoted to the establishment of a professional team of talkback writers who will flood websites throughout the world with pro-Israeli messages.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has since established team of students and discharged soldiers who work around the clock writing pro-Israeli talkbacks on internet sites throughout the world, and participate in discussions concerning Israel in international blogs and in sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“The internet is an arena in every way in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must act here or otherwise we lose,” said Ilan Shturman, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time the project was established.
“During ‘Operation Cast Lead’ we turned to Jewish communities abroad and with their assistance enlisted several thousand volunteers, to whom Israeli volunteers joined. We sent them background and public relations material and sent them to represent the Israeli perspective in the news websites on the internet,” said Shturman. “Our target audience then was the European Left, which was not friendly towards the government policy. We therefore began to get involved in discussions on blogs in England, Spain and Germany, very hostile environments.”
As Ilan Shurtman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Our goal is to penetrate into the world in which these discussions are being held, and in which news and video-clips are sent onwards to blogs, social networks and news sites of all sites. We are going to bring to these places a pro-Israeli voice.”