Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Picture with Rubin Rivlin
At the first ever Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem Young Judea I Speak Israel Summer Program participants had the privilege to attend. When the young advocates walked into their first session, Israel's Image Problem, they were the youngest ones in the room. In a pregnant room of journalists Steve Lindy, Editor-in-Cheif of Jerusalem Post, started off with questions, a sign of amazing itellgience showing the desire to learn despite the stereotypical stubbornness of journalists. Lindy posed starting questions, "Does Israel have an image problem? Is there a remedy?"

During LIndy's question many of the panelists nodded their heads ready to express their passion and opinions. The words of the jounalists were webbed together with many common themes. Sue Fishkoff, editor of JWeekly, vocalized her remedy for Israel's image problem, "We need to open up- not to be afraid." Fishkoff articulated the importance of transparancy in the media, and showing the real Israel. Marcus Sheff, the executive director of The Israel Project, shares the same desire as Fishkoff. Sheff desires for the population outside of Israel to know the vibrant and modern culture on the streets of Tel Aviv. Sheff yearned to mitigate the common idea that Israeli men all have long beards and Israeli women are shoved into the kitchen and only used to give birth to children. showing the multi-faceted sides of Israeli culture is contingent to improving the image of Israel portrayed throughout the media.

Fishkoff and Sheff stressed the importance of showing the "real" Israel. Around the world a large population possess an opinion about Israel from the black and white spectrum of pro-Israel and anti-Israel. The media has an extremely powerful impact on the world's view of Israel. The strong presence of Israel in the media has presumably added to Israel's image problem. Eyal Arad, President of Arad Communications stated, "Why do people have an opinion about Israel? It's because we ask [their opinions]." Arad believes that the more we push our opinions about Israel, there is the potential for our audience to first, develop an opinion of Israeli people, and then risk the outcome of people being critical towards Israel. As young journalists, ISI is striving to find the "happy medium". We are traveling through the beautiful parts of Israel and like any country we have found the bad from poverty to trash on the streets. Despite the negatives Shlomo Malka, RJC Radio, stated, "We need to support our country through the good and the bad."

---Dana Brown

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