Israel in bid to change 'distorted' media view with PR and ads

LONDON - Israel is preparing to shrug off its 'warzone' image and fight back against 'distorted' representations in the Western media with a global PR and advertising campaign.

The Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs is to hold a pitch for international and Israeli-based PR agencies to support the drive, which will cover Europe and the US.

The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is also seeking British advertising agencies to handle a "rebranding" campaign across Europe but has yet to compile a shortlist.

Gideon Meir, deputy director-general of public affairs at the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said he was in the process of securing funding for the campaign from business and tourism sources, the Prime Minister's Office and the Finance Ministry.

"We want to communicate the Israel beyond the headlines," he said.

Meir plans to stress the country's medical and technological achievements, thriving business community and "diverse" culture.

"That is the real Israel, not the Israel that is distortedly represented by the European media," he said.

"Those media have an agenda, some [media outlets] even of de-legitimising the Jewish state."

Michelle Cohen, UK PR manager at the Israeli Government Tourist Office, said the campaign would target tourists, businesses and people of all faiths. Israel is expecting 1.8m international visitors this year, its highest since the intifada broke out five years ago.

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