Likud MK Dan Illouz, who heads the Knesset’s Public Diplomacy Caucus, held an urgent meeting of the forum on Monday to urge the government’s support of individuals and groups involved in making Israel’s case to the world.
“The Israeli government must recognize and support civil initiatives that have emerged,” Illouz said.
He stressed the contribution made by nongovernmental groups and individual advocates, professionals and volunteers on behalf of Israel over the years, and the invaluable assistance they can provide during a time of war.
“The forefront of advocacy is crucial to give the IDF the necessary moral strength to win the war and defeat Hamas,” Illouz said.
“The atrocities committed by Hamas are among the worst ever seen, and the international community stands by our side largely thanks to civilians leading an uncompromising battle for the truth and Israel’s narrative on social media,” he added.
Attending the meeting were Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli as well as dozens of entrepreneurs, pro-Israel organization leaders, and Israel advocates and influencers.
Eliav Batito, head of Explain Israel, said, “The State of Israel needs to understand that there is an urgent need for a civil explanation body to operate in parallel to the national explanation apparatus, not in its place.
“We have the tools and capabilities to convey messages much faster and to convey messages that the government cannot convey on its own,” he said, noting it took the IDF a long time to respond to the disinformation claiming it had bombed the Gaza City hospital.
“We, as a civil body, are authorized to expedite the same verification process and release the details even when we are 99% sure and not 100%. Therefore, this time is critical and important,” he said.
“We cannot afford to wait hours to verify all the details, and Hamas, as a terrorist organization, exploits this to our detriment. As long as we continue the explanatory dispute with a terrorist organization against a state, we will lose. Therefore, we need to act against them with the good minds that the country has to offer in civil organizations,” Batito said.
Senia Waldberg, a marketing expert and one of the founders of the Civil Information Corps, said, “The State of Israel must start building a long-term strategy for advocacy, because advocacy has become a life-saving weapon for many Israelis and Jews. We are here to change what has been happening so far, and to give the IDF the tools it requires forever, with minimal casualties.”