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European Jewry to Israeli Gov.: Allocate Funds for 'Hasbara'

A top European Jewish leader urged newly elected Israeli government to appropriate funds to improving Israel’s image overseas.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 1/24/2013, 6:46 PM

Israeli flags
Israeli flags
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Speaking after the Israeli election, a top European Jewish leader urged the newly elected Israeli government to appropriate funds to improving Israel’s image overseas, specifically in Europe.  

“It is important to know that Israel is not completely isolated in Europe as everyone believes but there is indeed a lot that can be done in order to improve Israel's image,” Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), told Israel’s IDF Radio.

The European Jewish community “urges the new Israeli government to appropriate public image resources to the European arena much like it has in the American arena,” he said.  

“This is why we took it upon ourselves to establish the European Israel Press Association (EIPA) a few months ago that intends to improve Israel's image in Europe and change the public perception of Israel by establishing a dialogue instead of propaganda. In the next few months we plan to bring hundreds of European journalists and opinion leaders to Israel in order for them to experience Israel first hand,” he said.      

Established by a group of private individuals in Brussels in mid 2012, EIPA “operates independently as a peer-to-peer support for journalists, editors-in-chief, reporters, bloggers and opinion makers to generate greater insight and knowledge concerning the complexities and the challenges relating to Israel and the broader Middle East,” its website explains.

“EIPA helps media professionals in Europe in their daily work with news facts, background information, research and analysis,” the website states, adding that it is “a platform where journalists can interact and share information both in Europe and in Israel.”

Regarding the Israeli elections, Margolin said “Jews who live in the Diaspora see Israel as an insurance policy for their safety, so naturally we all have a great interest in the elections.”

“Surely, much like in Israel is a variety of opinions among European Jews as to who we would like to see winning the elections, but it is certain that most European Jews will support the Israel no matter which party wins," he added.