Social media Bootcamp will help Gen-Zers show the ‘humans of Israel’

The ISRAEL21c and TalkIsrael Foundation initiative seeks to empower authentic young voices.

20-somethings in Israel. Credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh.
20-somethings in Israel. Credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh.

ISRAEL21c and the TalkIsrael Foundation have established an online Content Creators Bootcamp that equips Israel-based content creators aged 17 to 24 with content creation and social media skills.

As part of the program launched on Dec. 21, participants will receive one-to-one coaching on creating better content, managing online audiences and developing a personal brand. They will also gain opportunities to work with other creators and organizations such as ISRAEL21c, TalkIsrael and their partners.

ISRAEL21c is a U.S.-based nonprofit that covers science, society and culture in Israel, and other stories about Israel that are rarely covered in mainstream media. TalkIsrael is a nonprofit seeking to help Gen-Z individuals worldwide develop positive sentiments about Israel and Israelis through social media.

The 2023 Content Creators Bootcamp will have three cohorts, each focusing on a particular social platform, explained ISRAEL21c Executive Director Jason Harris. This will allow participants to work with platforms they are most familiar with.

The classes for the Bootcamp will be free of charge and require a weekly time commitment of 3 to 5 hours. The program will include monthly one-hour cohort meetings and one-to-one 30-minute coaching sessions to provide participants with individualized support and guidance. All the Bootcamp sessions will be held online, though students may also have the opportunity to work in person.

In addition to the classes, students will receive a stipend they can use to grow their social media channels. Any content produced as part of the program will be uploaded to the TalkIsrael app and may also be featured on the social media accounts of ISRAEL21c and TalkIsrael. This will allow participants to showcase their work to a larger audience and gain visibility for their content.

“We initially chose to start with creators in Israel because the No. 1 greatest need that we at ISRAEL21c and TalkIsrael identified is an extreme lack of quality content in English coming from young Israeli creators,” said Harris.

Israel and the Western world

“If we want to leverage social media as a tool to create connections between Israel and the Western world, we need to empower authentic young Israeli voices,” he added.

At a time when much of the discourse online surrounding Israel is disproportionately skewed towards the conflict with the Palestinian, this program seeks to help budding creators present Israel to the outside world in a positive, apolitical light.

As Harris explained: “The internet can already be a divisive and dark place. Our focus at ISRAEL21c is to develop content that’s engaging, not enraging.”

Harris said that the creators participating in the Bootcamp would be able to choose topics they are passionate about and find interesting. These could include anything from cooking family recipes and spending time in nature to tech companies and other areas of interest. The goal is to help participants develop and promote content that will be engaging and informative for a wide audience seeking to learn about Israel.

A key idea behind the program is to humanize Israel, to show the “humans of Israel,” Elena Yacov, executive director of the TalkIsrael Foundation, told JNS. This means highlighting the everyday lives and experiences of people living in Israel, particularly Gen-Z Israelis, from the perspective of Israelis themselves.

Noga Amit, a yoga instructor based in Israel, is one of the participants in the program.

Her desire to create yoga-related content and see more positive content about Israel on social media motivated her to join the Bootcamp. “Programs like these are a great way to change the conversation about Israel, as they change the focus to more important subjects and paint a truer picture of life here in Israel,” Amit told JNS.

At the end of the program, I see myself as a content creator that is inspiring people and showing them the great things about Israel,” she said. 

Yacov said, “We are hoping that through the eyes of these young creators, American Gen-Zs who don’t necessarily know a lot about Israel or were only exposed to negative content will get a better understanding of Israel and its people, and will be able to relate to it on a personal level.”

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