ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Israel launches Gaza hostage awareness video campaign for Super Bowl weekend

Clips to be broadcast on Paramount smart TVs, billboards and via sports and current affairs websites, pressing message that 136 Israelis are being held by terror group Hamas

One of three Superbowl ads to be broadcast in this year's event to raise awareness of the plight of the remaining hostages held in Gaza (Israel’s Government Advertising Agency/LAPAM)

Israel launched an advertising campaign in the US over the weekend aimed at raising awareness of the 136 Israelis still being held hostage by Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The campaign, which includes video clips, was targeted at smart TVs, outdoor signage in large cities, and current affairs websites, the National Information System said in a statement Sunday.

A video prepared by Diaspora Minister Amichai Chikli and the national information system calling for the release of hostages was to be broadcast on Paramount smart TVs. Paramount is the streaming company that broadcasts the Super Bowl.

Other clips pushing the message of the hostages’ plight targeted current affairs websites, as well as billboards in Washington and New York. There was also to be a broadcast on digital radio on sports and current affairs channels, the statement said.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas led a devastating cross-border attack from Gaza on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. The 3,000 attackers who burst through the border into Israel also abducted 253 people of all ages who were taken as hostages to Gaza. Of those, 132 remain in captivity, not all of them alive. Four more – two civilians and two slain IDF soldiers — have been held for years.

One video, featuring clips of some of the men being held hostage, included a voice-over saying “To all the dads, the funny ones, the silly ones, the strong ones, the adventurous ones. To all the dads held in captivity by Hamas for over 120 days. We vow to bring you home.”

Another carries the slogan: “In a roaring stadium, their silence is deafening. 136 people are still being held hostage by Hamas.”

It then cuts to photos of demonstrators holding up posters of hostages to the sound of chants “Bring them home.”

A third video says “136 seats are still available for Sunday’s game. One for each Israeli held captive by Hamas.”

The campaign, prepared in cooperation with Israel’s Government Advertising Agency (LAPAM), is expected to reach tens of millions of people in the United States.

It was estimated to have reached 10 million people by Sunday, the statement said.

The government drive comes alongside another by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum NGO. Their ad features actor Michael Rapaport, who visited Israel in December.

The campaign appears to be a typical Super Bowl-related ad until Rapaport reverts to his usual foul-mouthed speech as he urges viewers’ help in getting the hostages released.

He asks viewers to log on to Lifeshiftr.com, a website created by the Forum, where they can fill out an email form to be sent to their local representatives, seeking their assistance with the hostage crisis.

In addition to Rapaport, families of the hostages also appear in the ad campaign, initially posing as satisfied consumers before revealing themselves as relatives with loved ones held captive in Gaza.

Israel responded to the Hamas onslaught with a military offensive with the aim of destroying the terror group and removing it from power in Gaza, and securing the release of the hostages.

This year’s Super Bowl, to be played on Sunday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, will also include an ad against antisemitism.

A key part of the annual Super Bowl extravaganza, broadcast live and watched by hundreds of millions around the world, is the ads aired during the match.

This year, Jewish philanthropist and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has purchased a 30-second slot for his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism to show a video calling on Americans to speak out against hate.

The clip will feature Civil Rights icon Clarence Jones, who helped draft Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I have a dream” speech in 1963.

Dr. Clarence B. Jones (Foundation to Combat Antisemitism)

In a statement Friday the foundation described Jones as “a longtime leader in the fight against hate” and “a staunch advocate for civil rights. He has also been a passionate supporter and champion for the historic and powerful partnership between the Black and Jewish communities in America.”

“With hate on the rise, it is as important as ever that all of us stand together and speak out,” Jones said in the statement. “Silence is not an option.”

A preview of the video was published on social media by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism on Thursday.

The foundation also released a video of Kraft calling Jones to tell him he would be in the ad.

In March last year, Kraft launched his “Stand Up to Jewish Hate” campaign, which aims to raise awareness nationwide in the US about soaring incidents of antisemitism online and in person. Antisemitism has taken a further jump amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

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