The IDF Spokesperson: From Reporting to Marketing
‘The IDF Spokesperson Announces’ is the title of a new book that includes a collection of the important announcements made by the IDF Spokesperson’s office throughout the history of the State of Israel.
INN TV spoke with the book's editor Meirav Halperin about it.
“This is the official military history of Israeli,” said Halperin. “It’s a collection of the announcements of the IDF Spokesperson from 1948 until now - the most important dominant announcements from the past six decades.”
There were thousands of announcements from which to choose in compiling the book, but in the end those chosen were the ones that made a real mark on Israeli society.
Among other things, the book portrays the changes that the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has gone over the years – from one lone spokesperson to a whole department.
“In the beginning it was very naïve,” said Halperin. “It wasn’t so sophisticated like today. There was no press or PR. It was simple information for the Israeli people.”
She noted that today the directors of the Spokesperson's Office are veteran journalists with a great deal of experience in the field. The media has changed, and with it has changed the Spokesperson's Office. For example, if at one time the standard Spokesperson's announcement would include a line like “the IDF states” or “the IDF reports,” today we are more likely to hear something like “according to the IDF,” or “the IDF claims.”
“During Israel's first years the media did what the Spokesperson told it to do,” said Halperin. “After the First Lebanon War the situation changed because it was the first time that the Spokesperson didn’t fulfill the expectations of the media. Until then there was no criticism [of the Spokesperson].”
The book includes an interesting look back at the messages from the Spokesperson's Office during the 1967 Six Day War that typifies the period. That war, of course, was full of momentous events – Jerusalem is freed, the Temple Mount is in our hands, soldiers crying at the Kotel, the sounding of the Shofar by Rabbi Goren, and more. The IDF spokesperson's terse announcement to describe it all? “IDF forces have entered the Old City.”
"If [the Six Day War] happened today nobody in the whole world would notice that something big happened in Israel, while here in Israel every soldier who took part in the battle would be interviewed about his feelings etc.," said Halperin.