Josia Nakash
Founder, Good Vibe Agency

Israel: A Start Up Without Branding

Everything about this tiny little strip of land we are living on is a miracle. Israel has maintained itself throughout the first 60 years of its existence with something that can only be termed as faith above reason. There is no logic here whatsoever. There is no country in the world that attracts so much attention and that is discussed all over the world like Israel. There is no country in the world with a level of innovation like Israel’s in every aspect of our lives – not just high tech. Israel is constantly renewing itself with each new wave of immigrants that add their special flavor to the big melting pot.

Why is Israel a start up? There were huge risks and challenges involved from day one and no clear plan how to overcome them. But we did somehow. We made things up as we went along. Every individual gave everything they had to make it work and somehow it did. We started out with a ton of motivation because we were being persecuted in Europe. After the Holocaust we had the support of the world and before we understood what was happening we had our own spot to call home. By some leap of faith the nations of the world chipped in and got us our own place. They probably thought that would solve the problem. Little did they know at the time that bringing us here without a clear plan has not really solved anything.

At the moment we have all the same conditions that we had in 1938. Many people and nations are not happy with Israel and the Jews and this is being openly discussed in the media and just about anywhere you go. So where did we go wrong?

No Business Plan

Israel was formed as a country for the Jewish people but there was never really a defined vision of what our purpose for being here is. Why couldn’t they put us in Africa? What was the reasoning for putting us here in this “Holy Land”? If we had the time to do a proper branding process back in the day, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are now. We would have asked the same questions we ask any company that is being formed: What is unique about your company? What problem are you coming to solve? How will you define success? If we had thought about Israel like a start up that must be built for success, we would have put all our top minds together to ask all the right questions: What is special about the Jewish people? Why do we have to be in Israel? What is the world expecting from us?

I met with many government officials over the years to discuss Israel’s poor image in the eyes of the world and what can be done about it: Prime Minister Sharon’s Foreign Press & Public Affairs Advisor; the Director of Information and Internet at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior advisors; Prime Minister Olmert’s senior advisers when he was at the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Labor, and the Deputy Director of Foreign Trade Administration; the head of Israel’s Brand Management team who is currently the Acting Consul General at the Consulate General of Israel in New York; the Business Development Manager of New Media at the Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute; and the Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism.

People tend to think of Israel as an unsafe place, a place of war, and at the moment it’s being promoted as simply another tourist destination. So it’s no wonder that tourism dropped by 30-40% this summer. If Israel is just like any other tourist attraction why risk it?

If we were to take stock and brand Israel properly once and for all, we would remember that this is the Holy Land and deep down inside people are actually coming here for a spiritual experience. They want to feel something here that they can’t feel anywhere else and that is why every human on earth is subconsciously drawn to our tiny little country.

Most people are not aware of this but millions of dollars have been spent on branding Israel over the years. Where did the money go? To some of the top agencies in the world – OUTSIDE OF ISRAEL. What was their recommendation? Package Israel like any other destination to make it look like a normal tourist attraction. The price we are paying for this ignorance of ours – for denying who we really are and why we are here – is extremely high. But that is nothing compared to what is coming. As long as we continue to act like just another country without any special role in global affairs we will see the anti-Semitism and general hostility toward us escalate all over. Everyone will be looking to Israel for answers but Israel will continue to behave like any other democratic country.

People of Israel – the time has come to wake up and realize that we are not just another nation with laws that were created by regular people. Our laws were created by holy people who were in a covenant with God. There is an unbreakable bond at work here that we continue to attempt to downplay and to what end? How many people have to die for us to see that our world has deteriorated into chaos and that everyone is looking at us, and subconsciously expecting some great wisdom to come from here.

Let us agree that we are the first spiritual start up and that new rules must be applied. Let us understand that the success of this venture depends on how we will rise to the occasion together. Just like any start up our collaboration in this process is the key factor to determining success. We will need to rise above our egos to achieve a greater goal. If the goal is important enough to us we will manage to pull that off and then be running on a new kind of fuel – let’s call it faith or hope or whatever you want. Let’s get a pilot program started as soon as possible to test the feasibility, conduct due-diligence and get this venture off the ground already. I’m positive support will pour in from all over once we get on this path.

Let us stop guessing about what to do next. Let us go back to the source to see what we didn’t see for the last few thousand years. With our newfound desire to get out of this chaos, we will be able to see it now. Let us open our hearts and remember why we are all here, and that we are all one big family. Let us give the world this example they are waiting to receive from Israel.

Let us not wait for the universe to send us more incentives to unite. Let us take the initiative this time and realize that our fate is in our hands.

Let us present the Israel brand the world has been waiting for: a united front where love and solidarity are valued above everything else.

Let us imagine it and let’s make it happen.


About the Author
Josia Nakash made Aliya from Canada at the age of 12 on a 28-foot Cape Dory sailboat. She loves sharing all the good Israel has to offer the world. Josia has a BA in International Relations and Political Science. She was the IDF's second female sniper instructor and is a top marketing consultant and copywriter.
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