The Foreign Ministry plans to target leading social media figures as part of a new public relations campaign. The ministry will soon launch the NIS 60 to 70 million initiative, which constitutes a large chunk of a NIS 100 million publicity budget approved by the Finance Ministry this week.
The Foreign Ministry had initially requested NIS 300 million for efforts to cultivate Israel as a “brand,” but the treasury ultimately approved NIS 100 million.
The campaign will focus on hosting figures the ministry has identified as having significant influence on public opinion. The first step in that effort was seen in ministry involvement in coordinating Arianna Huffington’s visit to Israel. She is the co-founder of the prominent Huffington Post political blog.
The ministry says it will work to cover the visits of many other opinion makers next year. The focus will be on people involved in lifestyle issues, culture and art, as well as leaders of specific population segments such as the gay community.
The Foreign Ministry also plans to fund activities already underway online. For example the site “I am Israel,” which features video clips and articles about the average Israeli. The project, part of an effort to change the world conception of Israelis, was initiated by individual Israelis. While the ministry is not currently involved in this site, in the future it intends to fund such projects.