Photo: GPO
Government Secretary Yisrael Maimon
Photo: GPO

Gov't secretary calls for national PR staff

Gov't team recommends appointing national staff to overlook Israeli political PR campaigns, and recruiting volunteers for online PR war

Appointing a national PR staff to instruct and coordinate all PR sources in Israel was recommended by Government Secretary Yisrael Maimon, Yedioth Ahronot newspaper reported on Thursday.


A special team headed by Maimon has spent the past three years examining ways in which the Israeli PR campaign could be improved, and published its report and recommendations this week.


The team recommended appointing a person with extensive PR and communications experience to head the staff, as well as some security-political background.


The appointed head will be employed as director-general of a government office and be in close contact with the prime minister.


The staff head will sit in on government and cabinet meetings, and sensitive security discussions, and will instruct all PR sources on how to handle sensitive issues.


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reviewed the 35-page report, and decided to adopt its recommendations in principle. The recommendations will be brought for government approval once details are cleared with the various PR bodies.


According to the report, the national PR staff will take control over the Government Press Office, which will become its operational wing.


"The PR staff is not meant to replace the activity of any other PR source in the government offices. It is meant to instruct and coordinate in the field of PR in order to ensure that the message is comprehensive, clear and consistent and that different government speakers all say the same thing," the report stated.  


"The staff's purpose is to initiate PR plans, and prepare for events in advance so as to change the situation in which PR mainly deals with responding to events. The establishment of the PR staff is not meant to replace any existing PR activity - which should continue to be carried out - by various offices and bodies."


The report also said that when carrying out security evaluations before deciding on any defense operation, PR repercussions should be considered, and a PR plan should be formed for every scenario.


At times of emergency, the national PR staff will also be responsible for raising morale and national resilience.


Online PR war needed 

Maimon's team also recommended upgrading Israeli PR on the internet, claiming that a simple search on the Arab-Israeli conflict brings up thousands of websites presenting the Arab side of the story, and a relatively tiny number of sites representing the Israeli side.


The team recommended that volunteers be recruited to send opinion pieces, personal columns and talkbacks to various websites to present the Israeli side of things.


The PR war has already begun in Sderot, as about a dozen residents who speak foreign languages were sent for an intensive course in PR principles, including practicing speaking in front of cameras and simulating interviews.


The course was organized by Israeli advocacy group, the Israel Project.


פרסום ראשון: 05.24.07, 10:32
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