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Israel’s Ministry of Education sent a special communication to high school principals throughout the country on Tuesday, calling on students to participate in Israel’s hasbara efforts concerning the attacks on Gaza. Director General of Education Ministry: we can conquer world public opinion with charming humour, visual language.” Students are promised that selected works will be used by Israeli hasbara officials throughout the world, and shown on Israel’s Education Television. Children in the service of government propaganda.
A joint initiative of Israel’s Ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs aims to enlist “tens of thousands of pupils who can influence world opinion,” according to a report in the Hebrew-language media site ynet. “You are part of the audience whose voice we wish to hear. You are the generation of new media, and we invite you to join and influence global public opinion,” stated the special communication sent to high schools throughout the country.
Latching onto the desire of teenagers for social acceptance and recognition, the ministry further promises that selected texts, photos, tweets and videos will be used by Israeli hasbara officials throughout the world, and broadcast on Israel’s Education television.
“We believe that together with the students we can conquer public opinion in the world, with sharp messages, charming humour and creation of a visual language, which will present what the residents of Israel are feeling,” said General Director of the Ministry of Education, Dalit Stauber.
Paz Azran is a 17 year old blogger from Israel’s coastal city of Ashkelon. Azran has been active in Israeli hasbara for four years already as part of an official high school project. Last Friday, two days after Israel commenced Operation Pillar Defence against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, Azran was contacted by the national hasbara campaign of the Prime Minister’s Office, and asked to write a blog in English in which she would share with the readers the experiences in the “inferno.”
“I know how much the story of a child can influence people around the world, and I think there are children with talent and a strong desire to share, who can assist in this topic,” Azran told Ynet. “I send primarily reports about the number of rockets that landed today, note if something exceptional happened like the launching of a missile on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, direct hits of schools and homes. The goal is to tell my personal story, what the feeling is of living under a rocket attack.”
Chairperson of the National Union of Youth and Students, Yuval Kachlon, welcomed this initiative. “We are beginning a hasbara campaign to change the image existing today of the state of Israel, Kachlon told Ynet. “We have the obligation to change the image and publish the truth and the good side of our country. I believe that the more we work on the subject of hasbara, the more we will receive greater support throughout the world.”
Blogger Azran told Ynet that “Of course there are also negative responses,” to her blog postings. “In one of my blogs, for example, I spoke of how a school sustained a direct hit, and someone responded that schools in Gaza are also bombed. I took care to explain that the reason for this is that stockpiles of weapons are hidden in schools.”
Israeli youth enlisted in the spread of government propaganda.