At the conference
At the conference Israel news photo

The hareidi-religious community needs a public relations makeover, thousands of media experts agreed in a conference in Bnei Brak on Thursday. Designers and graphic artists competed to create posters explaining the hareidi perspective on points of friction between the hareidi community and the general public.

Designers, advertisers, publicists, media relations experts, and other media and high-tech professionals took part in the conference, which was sponsored by the design website Discussion focused on media portrayal of the hareidi-religious community in 2010.

Both hareidi and non-hareidi experts present agreed that the community needs a PR fix-up. “I may disagree with many aspects of the hareidi lifestyle, but it saddens me that these days the Israeli public is built on hate and not self-worth,” said strategic adviser Yuval Porat. “The hareidi public needs to take the initiative and not just get dragged into battles,” he added, “There's no doubt that there's a need for leadership and expertise.”

Yigal Galai, a media relations adviser, took a different approach. “The hareidi public doesn't need media campaigns or advertising, what it needs is to deal properly with crises,” he said. “It wouldn't be right to launch a campaign to 'prettify' the issues. A professional, up-to-date team that handles crises is what's needed.”

Galai, Porat, advertiser Shai Horowitz, Knesset Finance Committee Spokesman Yerach Tokker, and Yaakov Isaac, media relations adviser to Deputy Health Minister Moshe Gafni, took part in a panel on media portrayal of hareidim. The panel discussion was led by former MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler, radio and TV personality and head of a Center for Jewish Hasbarah organization that aims to explain the religious Jewish perspective on various issues.

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