Directors of Israel's three most powerful ministries have agreed on a new plan to improve the country's image abroad — by downplaying religion and avoiding any discussion of the conflict with the Palestinians.
The plan was adopted during an October 2 meeting convened by the Foreign Ministry, involving its own director general and his counterparts in the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry. The participants examined specialized research conducted by American marketing executives over the last three years.
The meeting is the latest manifestation of a growing movement — begun in America — to "re-brand" Israel, or to reinvent the country's image in the eyes of both Jews and non-Jews. The driving concept is that Israel will win supporters only if it is seen as relevant and modern rather than only as a place of fighting and religion.
Among other recent converts to this idea is Hillel, the international campus organization. Hillel's Israel on Campus Coalition unveiled a sweeping campaign at the beginning of this school year, titled "Israel Starts With I." The seven kickoff events at large schools will feature Israeli bands and speakers in an effort to portray Israel as a place "where there are cool, hip people," according to Wayne Firestone, who is leaving his post as executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition to become the executive vice president of Hillel.
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