Founders of the program claim the courses are non-political, but seek to form a positive image of israel abroad.
A former captain of the Israeli special forces set up an initiative to train tens of thousands of released Israeli soldiers to act as ‘ambassadors’ during travels abroad, teaching the veterans how to talk about israel with non-Israelis, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.
“We understood that Israel has a ‘hasbara’ problem and that the people dealing with it the most are recently released soldiers and they have an opportunity to positively influence how Israel is perceived,” captain Eyal Biram said in an interview, using the Israel-specific term for Tel Aviv’s efforts to spread positive propaganda.
“More than 400,000 [Israelis] between the ages of 20 and 24 travel abroad each year. Basically, a group that is mostly made up of recently released soldiers. […] Each of them is basically an informal Israeli ambassador, for good and for bad,” he added.
Biram, together with partners Jonathan Svorai and Barak Deri, approached the IDF with their ‘Israel-is’ project. According to the creators, Israel-is is a non-political course that teaches soldiers how to converse by avoiding the pursuit of a particular political viewpoint.
“Our workshops are not political. They are meant to teach how to take your personal story in order to get across a message. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, left, support, oppose, whatever,” Biram noted.