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Monday, March 12, 2007

Drunk and naked

It is widely agreed here in Israel that our country does a poor job at hasbara, which is translated as public relations or more precisely explaining our positions. Two articles in this morning's news bring to light some of the reasons why Israel's public relations are so bad. In a nutshell it can be summed up as "cronyism" and a lack of belief in the justice of our cause.

This morning's Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli ambassador to El Salvador has been recalled and that his position has been advertised as vacant. American-born Tsuriel Raphael (that's him in the picture), who has been a foreign ministry employee since 1981, was found drunk and naked in the streets of San Salvador, El Salvador's capital. Raphael was appointed to his post in July 2006, which means he was on the watch of current Foreign Minister, Tzippy Feigele Livni. What's amusing is this comment towards the end of the article on Raphael's appointment:
In the last two weeks Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has named 20 senior appointments, including 17 new ambassadors. None of these have been political appointments.
One of the controversies that has raged here from time to time has been the manner in which ambassadors are appointed. This is controversial in many other countries, but only in Israel have the foreign ministry's employees banded together as a union and demanded that they be appointed to ambassadorial positions. That's not to say that the political appointment system was any good either. At one point, current acting President Dalia Itzik was nearly appointed ambassador to England by Shimon Peres despite what the media termed her 'rudimentary knowledge of English.'

Was Raphael's appointment 'cronyism'? If it wasn't, it was 'cronyism's' union-based corollary: seniority. In other words, Raphael may have been (and likely was) appointed ambassador because of the number of years that he spent in the foreign ministry and for no other reason. In the meantime, he's back here in Israel getting his clothes on and his drinking and sexual proclivities in order.

The other problem with Israel's hasbara is that the foreign ministry doesn't believe in the justice of our cause. Given that for most of the fifteen years the foreign minister has been from the left (Shimon Peres, Shlomo Ben Ami, Feigele Livni) that is not so surprising, but it is still harmful. And it's not just the foreign ministry - it's the entire government. This article by Ron Breiman does an excellent job of summing up the problem. It appeared on YNet yesterday.
The only basis for the State of Israel's existence is the Zionist vision that reconnects the people to its country after thousands of years with the absence of political independence. The way to realizing this vision is through the concentration of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel. Therefore, immigration and absorption are the most important national missions.

It is sad to see the various immigration absorption ministers insulted when they are appointed to this post and watch them pass their time at this important ministry doing nothing and waiting for an opportunity to be promoted to a more senior post, such as foreign minister for example.

True Zionist leadership would have placed the Zionist vision - immigration, absorption, and settlement at all parts of the country in general and particularly in the Galilee, Samaria, Judea, and the Negev desert - at the top of the national priority order, rather than the "peace vision," which is unfeasible in our generation or the "two-state vision," which is a recipe for eliminating the Zionist vision.

True Zionist leadership would have turned the Immigration Absorption minister into the most senior and challenging post. True Zionist leadership would have dealt with developing the environment, economy, tourism, and higher education, and would have made sure to spread the population throughout the western Land of Israel not only in the coastal plain.
You can't do much of a job of explaining our position when you have shunted our position - Zionism - aside in favor of delusions of 'peace' and the 'two-state' solution. Indeed, how often do we hear from our 'leaders' - including Olmert, Peretz and Livni - that their priority is to establish a 'Palestinian' state reichlet, when their true priority ought to be to build up the Jewish State. And if Israel's own leaders are going to make the 'Palestinian' reichlet the top priority, why should George Bush or Tony Blair or Javier Solanna make the Jewish State their priority. If the Emperor won't put on his clothes, why should those around him put them on for him?

Read the whole thing.


At 4:23 PM, Blogger Hutzpan said...

Sad, but so true!

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

A return to Zionism, indeed, is the key.

How carefully are Ambassadors vetted? From the article, it would seem the names are pulled out of a hat.

A very sad day for Israel, as this will be used as a bludgeon against Israel by it's enemies, as if this is what Israel is. Never mind what the cult of islam does to their children, etc., while this is the action of one sick man.


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