The IDF has corps for any modern war sphere, be it in the sea, air, or land. All these forces are well-managed, have alternate strategies, logistics and contingency plans, answers for imaginary scenarios, regular training sessions, and a structured regular and reserve force ready for action, with all members knowing their role.
Yet in the Second Lebanon War we discovered that the only battle ground where we lost big time is the media sphere, where we have no corps, with at the most a psychological warfare advisor here and a PR unit there, who are not tasked with managing an offensive war zone.
Under our noses, the media battlefield has developed into a central war zone able to decide wars of perception. This change requires us to recognize the existence of this new battle zone as one that needs to be addressed in a novel and challenging manner.
It is no coincidence that the political world chose to use the term "election campaign," which is reminiscent of a military campaign. The world's greatest campaigners have known for a while now that it is possible to win cruel and complex election campaigns out of a good strategic consultation office, and that by properly managing the media it is possible to take anonymous candidates with a negative opening position and turn them, through a sophisticated campaign, into the public's favorite within a short period of time.
We're not talking here about the need to expand the PR unit into a PR corps, as PR aims to explain moves that are being done or have already been done. Here we are pointing to the need for a new type of corps that would be half military and half diplomatic, and its mission would be the same as all other corps – preparing the next war, and preparing offensive tactics for the next operation in the media war zone.
What is special about such corps is that its soldiers would not only be physically present in Israel, but also "cyber-reservists" who can be present all across the virtual world. When such corps has contingency plans, and every "fighter" knows what to do when he or she receive the sign, if things move fast the campaign will be won accordingly.
Counting on our immigrants
Israel has all the attributes and resources to succeed in this challenging mission. We have hundreds of thousands of youth, students, and some of the world's finest high-tech people, who are experts when it comes to putting out feelers and patrolling the alleys of the mysterious cyberworld. Many of them can integrate into this corps, and execute their missions once war breaks out.
In terms of its ongoing function, such a corps has a major role to play in regular maintenance of global media outlets and the internet, both in terms of intelligence as well as keeping track of the media pulse at any strategic location in cyberworld.
We have new and veteran immigrants who speak almost all the world's languages, and we can use them to build practiced units trained to spread across local media in the country of their language and convey our messages effectively, without giving up on almost any country. During ongoing training sessions they should practice appearances before the cameras, copywriting, and the ability to convey messages.
Such corps should be managed by enlisting the managers of large advertising executives, as well as political strategic advisors not only from Israel, but rather, from agencies in the US, Western Europe, Russia and other locations. Each one is an expert on the local media in his or her own country, and their job would be to engage in a media campaign in that country, just like it would be done during an election campaign.
Einstein once said that he does not know which weapons will be used in the Third World War, but that he is afraid that sticks and stones will be used in the Fourth World War. We also did not know what will decide the campaign in Lebanon, yet it is possible that the battle zone in future wars will ultimately be decided by an army that utilizes the media and secures targets in the global public perception.
The writer is a human rights activist, and chairs the committee for battling the trade in women and the legal center for children and youth