The reel IsraelThe reel Israel

Foreign Ministry launches hasbara video competition

Deputy minister says new initiative seeks to put Israeli public diplomacy on the offensive

Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset, July 7, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset, July 7, 2014 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In a bid to sway the world’s opinion on Israel, the Foreign Ministry on Monday launched an international competition for video shorts promoting the Jewish state.

Creators of the two winning videos will receive a cash prize, and their submissions will be used as official Foreign Ministry advocacy materials.

In announcing the competition, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the advocacy, or hasbara, initiative sought to shift the approach of Israeli public diplomacy from the defensive to the offensive.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for Israelis and others around the world who love Israel and who want to contribute their talents to changing public discourse and improving Israel’s standing,” she said in a statement.

Submissions are to deal with specific issues, including the status of Jerusalem and Palestinian media “propaganda,” Hotovely said.

The competition will include two categories — one for Israelis only; the other open to any individual or company that wishes to participate.

In her statement, Hotovely noted it was the first time the Foreign Ministry has ever sought the public’s assistance in a public advocacy campaign.

She did not detail the specifics of the competition.

While Israel does not often garner much praise for its ability to present its best face to the world, when it comes to combining public advocacy and social media, it apparently doesn’t do too shabbily.

According to a study published last week, Israel’s Foreign Ministry is the eighth-best player in the world in the field of digital diplomacy, beating powerhouses such as Germany, Japan and Switzerland.

According to Noam Katz, of the Foreign Ministry’s media and public affairs division, the ministry operates some 350 channels on various platforms, including websites; Twitter feeds; Facebook pages; and profiles on Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Pinterest and other social media sites, all of which are constantly updated.

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