United with Israel’s global community of supporters are partners with the Israeli government and the IDF to improve the State of Israel’s image around the world.
[JERUSALEM] United with Israel recently met with Israeli Economics Minister Naftali Bennett to explore innovative ways to improve Israel’s image internationally. As the world’s largest pro-Israel community with over two million supporters on Facebook, UWI has an extended friends reach of nearly 400 million people. Bennett, an outspoken voice for Israel who oversees the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, understands and appreciates the power of social media. Minister Bennett was instrumental in forming and promoting My Israel, a popular Hebrew-language Facebook page for Israelis (https://www.facebook.com/MyIsrael).
Minister Bennett, who formerly served as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff, congratulated UWI founder Michael Gerbitz on the recent milestone of reaching two million fans on Facebook. Last year, when UWI’s Facebook page grew to over one million fans, Bennett declared that UWI “redefined the meaning of hasbara (public relations).” Remarkably, Prime Minister Netanyahu himself became UWI’s one millionth fan.
Bennett also introduced the United with Israel team to Yuli Edelstein, who at the time served as Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Well respected on both sides of Israel’s political spectrum, Edelstein currently serves as Speaker of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). He commended United with Israel on “all of the wonderful work it has done to enhance the image of Israel around the world and to assist the State of Israel in its struggle to inform the international community of the true Israel.” He added that he “fully supports” United with Israel’s mission and that “we share the common goal” of promoting Israel around the world.
United with Israel has received endorsements from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the Foreign Affairs Ministry. This includes a message from Prime Minister’s office praising UWI for “improving the State of Israel’s image around the world.” Israel’s former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon also issued a statement commending United with Israel for its “skilled use of the internet and social media.” He noted that it is “comforting to know that Israel has a partner that will help citizens of the world better appreciate Israel’s vibrant society and improve their understanding of Israel’s delicate political situation.”
The United with Israel community of supporters is proud to partner with the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit in combating the delegitimization of Israel in cyberspace. Lt. Colonel Avital Leibovich, who heads the IDF’s foreign press branch, said that in “times of need” the IDF is “thankful for partners like the United with Israel community who play an important role.”
During armed conflicts, such as the IDF’s Operation Pillar of Defense of November 2012 in which Israel defended itself against Hamas rocket attacks, UWI works closely with government ministries and the IDF’s New Media Department to fight for Israel on the battlefield of public opinion. Anti-Israel media bias and delegitimization attempts increase dramatically in times of war. United with Israel’s powerful reach on the internet helps the State of Israel complement its military success with important victories in the global media war. UWI is committed to fighting – and winning – the cyber war for Israel.
Every year during the holiday of Chanukah, United with Israel sponsors a party for hundreds of IDF soldiers on their army base. The soldiers are given ‘warm winter’ care packages, menorahs and lots of great food. In 2012, the party was help on the Ugdat Aza base, just a few kilometers Israel’s border with Gaza. It was particularly meaningful since the party took place very soon after Israel’s mini-war with Hamas terrorists (Operation Pillar of Defense). The soldiers were extremely happy to celebrate Chanukah with members of the United with Israel community.
United with Israel helps the State of Israel not only in the area of public relations, but also in the field of tourism. Working with the Ministry of Tourism, UWI has promoted Israel’s official tourism websites through a series of highly successful Facebook promotions. The natural beauty and meaningful religious sites of the Holy Land are an “easy sell” for Israel admirers around the world. UWI is currently promoting a unique Jewish Heritage Tour of Israel for people of all faiths which will take place in March 2014. So far the response has been overwhelming.
In October 2011, an Israeli non-profit organization known as Meuchadim Im Yisrael (Hebrew for “United with Israel”) was approved by Israel’s Ministry of Justice. This enabled UWI supporters to donate funds toward promoting Israel around the world. UWI enjoys an excellent relationship with Israel’s Ministry of Justice and the Rasham Haamutot (non-profit registry), under which it is licensed (Registration #580549137).
United with Israel is an independent grassroots movement and is not funded by the State of Israel. Although UWI does work in partnership with Israeli government ministries and the IDF, it is funded solely through the generosity of Israel supporters around the world. Donations have been received from every corner of the globe, including Muslim states and Arab countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia!
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