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Representing Israel, in Arabic and Persian

Samara Greenberg

Israel is speaking new languages. In January, Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s Media and Public Affairs Department launched a Facebook page in Arabic. Titled “Israel speaks Arabic,” the page is devoted exclusively to Arabic-speaking audiences and features regularly updated content on the political situation, Israelis singing in Arabic, videos and pictures of Israel, and articles about coexistence in Israel.

The Foreign Ministry maintains over 100 Facebook pages for its diplomatic missions abroad, and is in the process of launching a page in Persian. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, Israel’s use of the social network is part of the Ministry’s wider efforts to make sure that “Israel’s voice is heard in every corner of the world. Facebook provides an unfiltered medium to speak directly to the people without any intermediary,” he said.

“Israel speaks Arabic” Facebook page

Israel’s Arabic page is reportedly being received positively. As of April 15, the page had over 21,000 ‘likes’ and since its launch four months ago, the page has received over 120,000 visits from across the Arab World. “We are slightly surprised by the amount of support we have received thus far,” Ayalon said, “it is encouraging.”

For decades, Israel has been combating – and losing – a war of words that seeks to de-legitimize the Jewish State’s existence, with the latest, most apparent events being the annual Israeli Apartheid Week, the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) campaign, and the widely-publicized ‘freedom flotilla’ trips to Gaza. While Facebook is a start, it’s time for Israel to launch its own all-encompassing media campaign with the goal of saturating the debate with factual details about Israel’s creation and its treatment of Palestinians.