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IDF Spokesperson: We Need to be Proactive, not Reactive

IDF Spokeswoman at Knesset session on public relations: We don't wait for the reporter to ask questions. We are proactive.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/18/2012, 4:12 AM

One of the participants in Tuesday’s special session in the Knesset on public relations and international media was IDF Spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich, who heads the IDF’s Foreign Press Branch.

Leibovich explained to Arutz Sheva about her unit’s goals in explaining Israel and the IDF to the world.

“I would say that the key word here is being proactive,” she said. “We’re not waiting for the reporter or the journalist to contact us with questions. Rather, we take them to a base tour to show them the technological developments, to show them the units, the faces of the soldiers, the officers and the commanders.”

“These are all critical things for us,” Leibovich added, “because after all, the image of the IDF is sometimes distorted in some audiences in the world and we want to balance that image.”

She said that in the last three years, the relations between her unit and the international media have improved, particularly because the Foreign Press Branch moved into the same building in Jerusalem where foreign journalists are.

“We have close working relations with the hundreds of foreign journalists who come here,” Leibovich said. “In addition, we launched a new media project that began three years ago and today I’m proud to say that we’re working in many platforms.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit works today on sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr and publishes information not just in Hebrew but also in English, Arabic, Russian, and French.

“We have millions of viewers just on those platforms,” said Leibovich. “We’re constantly initiating. Just a month ago I took 15 reporters to the Gaza area to demonstrate the security challenges that we have at that front, and we’re continuing with that pro-activeness.”