For the first time in its history, the Prime Minister's Office has added an Arabic-language spokesman to its media relations staff. The spokesman will also coordinate between the different informational elements in the Israeli government that deal with Arabic audiences, as part of the National Information Directorate.
The new spokesman is Ofir Gendelman, who until now was the Foreign Ministry's Spokesman for Arabic Media. The appointment and structural change was made as part of the efforts to improve Israel's information dissemination globally.
The Head of the National Information Directorate, Nir Hefetz, said: “This is a new and unique role, which we have manned for the first time in accordance with the instructions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in order to deal with the developments in the Arab media world in recent years and especially in light of the global developments regarding Arabic-language television stations.”
Sources in the PMO explained that the appointment is meant to strengthen Israeli informational activity vis-a-vis Arabic-speaking audiences, to present Israeli viewpoints directly and to increase these audiences' exposure to Israeli content and initiatives on diplomatic, security, economic, social and cultural matters.
Heeding the State Ombudsman
The State Ombudsman warned in his recent report that the government's informational effort in the Arabic language was sorely lacking and recommended an overhaul of Arabic-language information, especially that geared toward the Palestinian Authority and the Arab citizens of Israel.
Gendelman received his BA in History of Islam and the Middle East and International Relations from Hebrew University. He has an MA in Security Studies from Tel Aviv University and another master's degree in business management from Bar Ilan University. He has served in the Foreign Office since 1998.