Daily Israel Report

Using Social Media to Tell the Story of Obama's Visit

Israel is making the most of President Obama's visit to get the word out about the challenges the country faces, via social media
By David Lev
First Publish: 3/21/2013, 4:02 PM

Netanyahu embraces Obama
Netanyahu embraces Obama
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel is making the most of President Obama's visit to get the word out about the challenges the country faces, and the “unbreakable relationship” between Israel and U.S., says Danny Seman, Deputy Director in the General Ministry of Public Diplomacy, in charge of social media for the group. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are the new global “water cooler” where people exchange ideas and opinions, said Seman, and it's important for Israel to make its voice heard in these forums, in order to ensure that people know what this country is facing.

“Each person with their hundreds or thousands of friends are what we call a hasbara multiplier,” said Seman, referring to Israel's efforts to tell its story in the context of Israel's concerns, as opposed to the negative spin Israel usually gets in the world media. Using social media, he said, “people can more effectively get their message out than the government can.”

In order to make it easier for hundreds of volunteers who promote Israel on social media sites, the organization operates a center where volunteers can come and post messages on social networks. With the Obama visit, said one volunteer, the organization is deploying its efforts to broadcasting Obama's experiences in Israel in-depth. “We want to show the world the way we view the visit,” said volunteer Yoni Mann. “We have access to live feeds, screenshots, and other resources the public doesn't, which enables us to show the visit and the bonds between Israel and the U.S. to the world.”

“Social media is the best way to show off a visit like this,” said Eddie Fraiman, director of new media in the organization. “We are telling people in Israel and abroad about Israel, and about our unbreakable bond with the U.S.,” he added.