Elkana Bar Eitan

Why Israel is losing the PR war

Last week I wrote a Facebook post about our experience during our family vacation when we had to rush for safety following the enemy air strike on Eilat. 

Today, I would like to share a thought that came following that experience.

As children often do, my two sweet daughters (ages 11 and 8) read the post out loud and teased me for the way I chose to express my feelings:
‘My family was under attack’ – Really Aba?! Yes, we were awaken by sirens and had to run for safety. But, we specifically, were not under attack! No one knew that we were here. The bad guys attacked Israel, not our family directly.
‘Traumatic experience’ – Really Aba?! Yes, hearing explosions near by was a bit scary. And yes we won’t go to sleep alone since then, but that doesn’t mean it was a traumatic experience. It was just a bit scary.
Despite thinking to myself that it’s lovely to have smart and opinionated daughters, this conversation helped me understand something that I’ve been struggling with for a while.
We, Israelis, hate showing weakness. We, Jews, are tired of being victims.
Throughout our history, no matter how difficult the times were, we always got back on our feet and looked forward. Strong, positive and with self-humor.
As comedian Alan King summed up the Jewish holidays: ‘They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.”
Our faith is a critical part of who we are. Our optimism is probably our most valuable asset.
These characteristics have been the secret sauce for Jewish survival. However, these same characteristics are the main reason why we are losing the PR war.
In the Tiktok/Instagram Era, strength is considered aggression.
The brutal Palestinian terror attacks on innocent civilians (that were screened live on social media) allowed Israel a few weeks of international support. Once Israel launched the counterattack, that support ended quickly. If Israel would allow its enemies to keep slaughtering innocent civilians, we would cease to exist but we most likely would be supported by the mass. If Israel would parade the slaughtered babies, youth, women and elderly, that also may have given us some more international support.
But that’s not possible. That’s simply not the type of people we are.

The entire Israeli nation is in grief. We feel the pain all the time. Since October 7th, Israeli security forces have been dealing with the most challenging warfare possible. Palestinian terrorists are using innocent civilians as well as international aid workers as human shields. Despite being an over crowded urban center, Gaza is a fortified bunker. Thousands of miles of underground facilities, tunnels and explosives. Believe me when I say that war is a nightmare.

But we won’t show it.
Not many nations have suffered as the Jewish People. For centuries, Jews and Israelis have suffered from antisemitism attacks and terror attacks. Stabbings, gunners, suicide bombers, rockets, explosive kites. You name it.
But we won’t dwell on it.
Israel has agreed to cease fire. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, Israel has longed for peace. Millions of Jewish people and Israelis are active peace makers. Over the years, Israel has agreed to nearly all international peace agreements. Palestinians have rejected all of them.
But we won’t give up. Our faith is strong. Our desire for life is stronger than anything. We will get up on our feet and look forward. We will spread optimism and hope.
Unlike antisemitism, this simple truth apparently doesn’t trend on social media.
About the Author
Elkana is an entrepreneur and business manager with a deep passion for education. Since 2007, Elkana has been in the field of experiential education and social entrepreneurship, focusing on community building, social awareness, humanities, and Jewish identity. Elkana currently resides in Eshhar, together with his wife, two daughters, and son.
Related Topics
Related Posts