(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) An innovative project seeks to change Israel's international image, one blogger at a time, as part of the StandWithUs organization's fellowship program.
As part of the initiative, 26 students at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya have made it their mission to introducing seven popular bloggers from across the globe—and their millions of readers—to Israel as they've never seen it before.
The UploadEuro project is a continuation of the "Upload" project launched last summer, which had a similar focus on South American bloggers.
Ricci Cohen and Lihi Biton, two of the students involved in the project, told Israel Hayom the seven bloggers combined have over 9 million followers around the world on social media.
Travel blogger Ruhi Cenet, for example, has the fourth most-followed blog in Turkey, with 2.4 million subscribers. Krzysztof Gonciarz, originally from Poland, now lives in Tokyo and has nearly 600,000 subscribers on YouTube. Yarissa Rodriguez hails from the Dominican Republic and runs an English and Spanish language lifestyle blog with over 1.5 million subscribers.
Cohen and Biton said they want to change Israel's international image, a mission they believe can be best achieved by bringing social media opinion leaders to Israel, where they can experience all it has to offer first-hand and then share it with their fans to debunk preconceived perceptions.
"We want to show them Israel's multiculturalism," Cohen said. "We sat in a restaurant in Jaffa, and they didn't understand how it's possible for Arabs and Jews to sit together like that—they really didn't think it was like that. We'll show them the places holy to all religions in Jerusalem."
The seven bloggers will crisscross Israel's hotspots, visiting Jerusalem and the Dead Sea among other places.