Why did Israel allow a public diplomacy disaster?

Opinion: Yocheved Lifshitz's live statement following her release from Hamas captivity was a blunderous move for Israel's public diplomacy, serving to humanize a terrorist organization

The live broadcast of the words of Yocheved Lifshitz, the Israeli abductee who was released by Hamas, was a public diplomacy disaster for the country, and it's not Lifshitz’s fault.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
On Tuesday, Lifshitz, an elderly woman who was released from captivity by a ruthless terrorist organization less than a day ago, faced dozens of journalists, a highly stressful situation in its own right, even before considering the difficult situation she now finds herself in.
3 View gallery
 יוכבד ליפשיץ בבית החולים איכילוב, לאחר ששוחררה משבי חמאס
 יוכבד ליפשיץ בבית החולים איכילוב, לאחר ששוחררה משבי חמאס
Yocheved Lifshitz in live statement
(Photo: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
However, in her public statement, broadcast live, about the treatment she received during her captivity and the abuse she endured she also said she was well treated by Hamas terrorists. This is a disaster for Israel's public diplomacy. Sky News followed up on the statement and chose its words carefully as it posted on social network X: “Each person had a guard watching him or her. They took care of all the needs. They talked about all kinds of things, they were very friendly.”
Israel is facing a ruthless terrorist organization whose deeds are no less heinous than those of ISIS and the Nazis. The number of victims in the attack stands at over 1,300, and at this point, more than 200 Israeli captives are known to be held in the Gaza Strip.
How is it possible that no individual or official spokesperson came to manage an event like this prior to such an impromptu live press conference? How is it possible that we, by our own hands and while living in Israel, fall into Hamas's narrative trap?
3 View gallery
יוכבד ליפשיץ
יוכבד ליפשיץ
Sky News reporting on Lifshitz's statement
(Photo: Instagram)
What else could have been expected from an elderly woman who lived through a nightmare, whose husband is still held by Hamas, and whose life is still dependent on terrorists? Moreover, sources at the Sourasky Medical Center reported that the hospital’s spokesperson informed officials of what Lifshitz was likely to say.
This, however, isn’t the only cause for concern in this statement. Why do 25 families of Israeli captives in Gaza need to hear Lifshitz say she was held with other 25 people live on television? Why spread hopes in the hearts of more than 200 families who may have relatives among those 25 hostages? But now it’s too late; the information is already out, and headlines worldwide are already proclaiming that Hamas treated Lifshitz “well.”
Freedom of the press is important and critical in any situation, especially now. However, Israel's public diplomacy officials must issue an unequivocal directive that prohibits live media events of this kind in the future. The public's right to know is important, but not when national security is at stake. In such times, the public can suffice with a recorded and supervised message.
3 View gallery
 יוכבד ליפשיץ בבית החולים איכילוב, לאחר ששוחררה משבי חמאס
 יוכבד ליפשיץ בבית החולים איכילוב, לאחר ששוחררה משבי חמאס
Yocheved Lifshitz faces reporters
(Photo: Tal Shahar)
It's unimaginable that, 18 days into a war, Israel still hasn’t learned Hamas' tactics. Today, just hours after Hollywood celebrities issued a joint letter signed by 350 stars and VIPs calling for the immediate release of the Israeli captives, Hamas has shown Israel how public diplomacy should be conducted.
I call on officials in Israel to issue explicit directives regarding communication with Israeli captives following their release and to prevent the next public relations disaster immediately. This is an arena in which we can’t afford to lose.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.