Govt. appoints team to study Israel´s PR problems (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST.COM STAFF 12/07/03)
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The government on Sunday appointed a team headed by Cabinet Secretary
Yisrael Maimon to submit a list of recommendations for improving
Israel´s image abroad.
The matter is to be brought to the Cabinet within 45 days.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz proposed Sunday to establish an inter-
ministerial public relations taskforce, which would coordinate
Mofaz recommended to cabinet that the team focus on topics of terror,
the security fence, the humanitarian situation in the territories and
the Israeli position regarding the government of Palestinian Prime
Minister Ahmed Qurei.
Mofaz raised the proposal as an alternative to a recommendation made
by the foreign ministry to involve an external professional Hasbara
team when making operational decisions in order to factor in how the
decisions affect Israel´s public image.
Interior Minister Avraham Poraz said, "The problem is not Israel´s
public relations but rather the government´s policies." According to
Poraz, "When you build a fence in an erroneous way, when you destroy
apartment high-rises next to [the Gaza Strip settlement] Netzarim,
when you make the lives of foreign reporters difficult, when you
abuse Palestinians at checkpoints it is difficult to explain the
The Foreign Ministry´s Deputy Director-General for Public Affairs
Gideon Meir said, "Just like there is an in-house counsel who gives
legal advice and military officers who give security advice, there
also needs to be consideration given to the opinions of professionals
who are experts of public opinion."
Meir wants to see a situation where the head of Israel´s public
relations apparatus is sitting around the table when the defense
minister or chief of General Staff brings a decision to demolish —
for example — three buildings in Rafah. This person would evaluate
such a move in terms of its impact on international public opinion.
Mofaz said, "Hasbara is an important factor in the Palestinian
conflict and it has to be considered in all decision making
(© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 12/07/03)
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