Tuesday, April 25, 2006

An intersting PR ploy


Many people outside Israel have various warped views of Israel. Some think Israel is all desert and camels, some long bearded fanatics and some think of Israel purely in military war terms. Apparently one person at the Foreign Ministry wants all of these perceptions to change....
It has been going on for years. The Foreign Ministry invites journalists from abroad to Israel, shows them the Western Wall and the Knesset, and introduces them to boring and suited officials who tell them how hard it is to live here.
Finally, someone at the ministry decided to break out of the mold and show foreign journalists another side of Israel, the side they don’t already know: the Israel of fun and recreation, hot clubs, gourmet restaurants and sunny beaches.
A delegation of journalists that will be exposed to “the other Israel,” as opposed to the terror- and poverty-stricken country they see on their TV screens at home, is arriving soon from the United States.
The delegation will include ten relatively young journalists, who work for the media outlets most popular among 18- to 25-year-olds in America. Writers from MTV, Seventeen, Cosmogirl, Wallpaper, City Magazine, Stuff and Metropolitan News, among others, will be hosted here.
The visit will last eight days, during which the journalists will be exposed to the young, “cool,” energetic and flourishing side of Israel. The Foreign Ministry’s Public Relations department, in cooperation with the Israeli-American PR organization Israel21C, prepared a rich and diverse itinerary for the delegation, that hopes to leave them with pleasant memories and wanting more.
And what is on the busy schedule? Extensive tours in Tel Aviv, including a visit to Sheinkin Street, the Nahalat Binyamin Mall, Neveh Tzedek neighborhood, drummers’ beach, old Jaffa and the Army Radio headquarters.
The nights will be no less wild: the guests will be hosted in Tel Aviv’s hottest bars and clubs, such as Haoman 17, G Spot, TLV, and will enjoy dinner at the Manta Ray restaurant.
But they won’t be in Tel Aviv alone. The U.S. journalists will visit Beit Yanai beach where they will meet surfer Amit Inbar; they will tour Safed, where they will participate in Kabbalah workshops, and they’ll visit the Rosh Pinah home that songstress Madonna is looking into buying.
Jerusalem is on the schedule too: The group will visit The Lab, an experimental music and performance art venue, as well as other bars
and restaurants, and will have time to walk the city’s streets and cobbled malls. Instead of meeting with dry politicians and officials, they will meet rappers, directors, chefs, restaurant critics, representatives of the gay community and “The Ambassador” Eytan Schwartz.
They will also drop in on a few Israeli Hi-Tech companies, visit Yad Vashem, and see a length of the security fence.
Deputy head of the ministry’s Public Relations department, Zehavit Ben-Hillel, said the delegation represents a demographic which Israel has a hard time reaching.
“Our goal is to present Israel through a different and less known prism. We want them to internalize that Israel is a progressive place, modern and youthful, that in its essence is similar to the United States," she said.
"Our hope is that every one of them will find ideas for articles here on the ‘other Israel,’” Ben-Hillel said.

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