Opinion

The new government must be serious about combatting deception

Due to rampant anti-Israel propaganda, a serious effort should be made to go beyond simple ‘hasbara.’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Feb. 12, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Feb. 12, 2023. Photo by Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.
Shmuel Katz. Photo: Courtesy.
Shmuel Katz
Dr. Shmuel Katz is a fellow of the Israeli Surgical Society, the American College of Surgeons and other medical societies.

In the field of local and international education, it seems today that providing students and others with factual and truthful hasbara and documenting and complaining about antisemitism are not enough.

To try to make a difference for the better, we should also add the following points to our overall educational efforts, as they may help redirect the public’s anger and attention to the correct address, and away from irrational attacks on Jews or the State of Israel:

1. Show how anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activities, deception and incitement will harm everybody, including to those who support the false and manipulative messages of the radicals. People will have to understand that, should evil prevail, their skin is also going to be in the game.

2. Show how the activities of bad actors undermine both Jews and non-Jews alike. It is not only an antisemitism problem—it’s a free world problem.

3. Show who is providing most of the funds to these bad actors.

4. Show how much of that money will also be used for their own personal benefit.

5. Show how some of the money is being used to deceive, incite and brainwash the current and next generation, which will ultimately harm the stability and the welfare of all societies.

6. Show how these self-serving, malicious individuals may benefit not only from personal monetary gains, but also from many other things. These may include access to information, building personal contacts, receiving invitations to social activities, obtaining recognition from questionable peers and others, getting invitations to go on expensive trips, obtaining undeserved benefits for their family members, securing protection from threats and so on.

In addition, we must make the following changes in Israeli and Jewish education, as well as policies towards the Palestinian Authority:

1. Make sure that the funding provided to various schools, both under Israeli and P.A. control, is conditional on teaching accurate information about historical truth and facts as they relate to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

2. Do not fund schools that provide an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish P.A. curriculum. This is true for many schools in Israel and especially those in eastern Jerusalem. (Some of these funds are provided by the local municipalities, but even in those cases, the government may have the ability to serve in an advisory role.)

3. Provide incentives to poor and at-risk Israeli youth, both Haredi and non-Haredi, male and female alike, to learn skills that will help them become productive members of society. They will become well-educated people who do not depend on handouts from the government or other charities, as well as ambassadors for a good cause.

4. Provide the various Jewish schools in the Diaspora with funds that will be used to teach students the basic historical truth about the State of Israel and the Jewish people. There are complete curriculum programs for Jewish schools by StandWithUs, Open Door Media and others.

5. Take advantage of materials that can be used in all schools and various media outlets, like those which are available for free in the highly informative signs and booklets that are provided by StandWithUs. Some of these booklets are available in multiple languages, including English, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. Click here for the direct link to these 70 important and highly informative free booklets. Consider also including the educational videos from Open Door Media. At the related Unpacked, you can get much of the information you will need to easily navigate through these complicated issues and develop informed opinions about Israel and Judaism. This material can also be used in Jewish and Arab schools within the State of Israel as a supplement to the properly reviewed general studies curriculum of the Ministry of Education (which should also include Tanach).

6. Provide special resources to those who educate the educators, like Orot Israel College of Education, Machon Lev, Bet El Institutions, Ariel University, Or Torah Stone and Bar-Ilan University.

7. Facilitate the creation of additional television and radio stations that will provide reliable and truthful information to the public, in addition to the already existing Israel National NewsJNS and others.

8. Do not give the P.A. or Hamas unlimited funds that will pay terrorists for their horrendous actions, support terror infrastructure or facilitate incitement and deception in Israel and across the globe.

9. Constantly interact with journalists, educators, influencers, politicians and others and share with them relevant and timely information.

10. Cultivate responsible and competent journalists and others, who will be able to frequently publish relevant and reliable information and articles in various media outlets.

11. Relay, relay, relay and repeat. As we know from marketing experts, all the messages must be repeated multiple times if we want readers to absorb the information, to comprehend the messages and eventually to act on them wisely.

This very short list is a manageable first step, which can be expanded or modified as needed. These ideas should be implemented as soon as possible to limit future problems. We must set up the State of Israel, the Jewish people and all other honorable citizens for a successful future with a stable, secure, prosperous and viable society.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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