In a video clip launched as part of Israel's new campaign to promote incoming tourism, actress Gilat Ankori, dressed in a polka dot blouse, is seen lying in ambush with 'IDF soldiers', wearing a helmet and holding a rifle - just waiting to pull the trigger.
Actress Noa Tishby, who happens to pass by, is surprised to see her old friend from the 90s TV series Ramat Aviv Gimmel. In a belittling tone of voice, Tishby says to her friend: "We haven't asked you to lie in ambush."
"No?" the confused Ankori replies.
"No. But there is something you can do for the state. Invite a tourist to Israel," Tishby tells her.
It is difficult to determine what is more embarrassing: The campaign to bring back Israelis who left the country ("Yordim"), which was based on instilling feelings of guilt, or the new, desperate attempt by the Governmental Publications Bureau (GPB), which serves as an advertising agency for all governmental ministry offices, to promote tourism in such an unstylish manner.
The GPB's call for national recruitment is the Israeli version of John F. Kennedy's "ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country" speech.
Video featuring Tishby and Ankori
The campaign's message is gloomy: We've tried everything, so now it's your turn. This is not only a defeatist attitude that transfers the responsibility to us, the citizens, it also presents a fake reality. After all, it is hard to initiate diplomatic processes that will actually make life in Israel more appealing. It is much easier to act as if it's more appealing. Choosing Noa Tishby, who spends most of her time in the US, to head the campaign does not add to its credibility.
Israelis can convince their friends abroad to visit the country by telling them about our beaches, restaurants and exotic markets. But this campaign is not meant to convince foreigners to visit Israel; instead, it tries to cause us to convince them.
Tourism is vital for any civilized country, but how civilized can a country be if it uses a battle scene – soldiers, weapons, an ambush – to convince viewers to invite foreigners to visit?