As the CEO of an award-winning PR Agency, I am proud to stand as a supporter of Israel. We have advised a plethora of Israeli government offices and officials, as well as countless Pro-Israel and Jewish organizations. As a passionate Israel supporter, I am involved with Israel on many levels, including countering media bias against Israel and other related matters.
That said, we must accept that Israel bears part of the blame for negative media coverage by virtue of having awful public relations. Besides the fact that nowhere in the world does the government employ PR agencies, The Israel Foreign Ministry in the U.S. (as in every other country in the world, including Israel) needs help. After my most recent article “Israel Sucks At Social Media” where I criticized the official blog of the Israeli government (which they closed after my post), the Israeli government tweeted to me from @Israelinnewyork saying: “Great, you found an old site on the interweb that is no longer updated, what a find!”, and (mockingly): “PS, our Myspace page is EPIC, definitely worth another Op-Ed.”
Israel’s image is far from stellar and their Public Relations awful. Their tweets encouraged me to further review Israeli government websites. The results are simply terrible – replete with spelling errors, broken links and inaccurate information. Israeli representatives do an awful job of communicating.
For example, review http://embassies.gov.il/new-york/AboutIsrael/Pages/About-Israel.aspx, on the “ABOUT ISRAEL” link (upper right), there’s a page filled with spelling errors. For example, “Land of milk and ’honney.” Last I checked, it is spelled “honey.” Even worse, on that same page under the section called “FastFacts,” under “Languages,” the word “Hebrew” is spelled “Hebraew”! How can an official website of Israel make such an error?
In the Milk and Honney section, if you click the “READ MORE” link, it goes to this page:http://embassies.gov.il/new-york/Pages/default.aspx under “VISIT US” (lower left side), there’s a link to an incorrect twitter account & on the same page under TOOLS AND INFORMATION there are multiple broken links.
Clicking on “Israel Politik – Blog” links to http://www.israelpolitik.org/ (NOTE THE PROPER SPELLING OF ISRAEL), you will see the blog which the Government of Israel intended to connect its viewers with. On another blog http://embassies.gov.il/new-york/NewsAndEvents/Pages/Charlize-Theron-Israeli-Fashion.aspx there is content which was haphazardly copied and pasted, different fonts and random paragraph spacing.
Hopefully after reading this, someone in the government takes a more serious look at Internet properties and takes major steps to improve on them. After many years of hoping for change, I no longer hold my breath. I have spoken extensively with multiple government officials and it just doesn’t change. Outside of the Pro-Israel community, no one knows or care about “The Foreign Ministry”, or “official representatives.” The media and the public view the Government of Israel as one uniform body. Consistently, and regularly the Israeli government fails miserably at communications.
I have spoken privately on multiple occasions with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and previously Prime Minister Olmert. Have met individually with Jerusalem Mayors, Mayors of Tel Aviv, Cabinet Members, Members of Knesset and more. I think highly of the Israel Consul General in New York, the Honorable Ido Aharoni who understands media. Despite all of this, and the multiple government offices responsible for PR, the Israeli government simply does a terrible job of managing Brand Israel.
Frankly, Israel’s Public Relations and online brand is awful. There are many Pro-Israel supporters worldwide who are professionals who would be happy to help Israel improve its communications, public relations, and marketing efforts. The State of Israel must do more to fix the many problems which are self-inflicted. Start-Up Nation? Or Third World Country?