JERUSALEM: Israel is banking on social media to win the hearts and minds of the Arab public, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday. Many governments in the region already cooperate closely with the Jewish state, but Jerusalem is increasingly taking to Facebook and Twitter in a bid to sway ordinary citizens, he said.
At a Jerusalem conference on digital diplomacy, Netanyahu also discussed his personal use of social media, saying he writes his own posts and is satisfied most by his viral videos addressed to the people of Iran.
“I think that the offer of peace will go more and more through social media, rather that through governments,” he said, speaking in English.
Israel has “very good relations” with many of its Arab neighbors, he noted. But in order to turn the still-clandestine ties into real peace, the Jewish state will “have to punch through the web of lies that have been said about Israel for 70 years and have been implemented in the minds of various publics.
“To do that, we have to get to the publics. We already have a different relationship with regimes and the governments. But we want to get to a different relationship with the people – and that you do through social media,” he said.
Addressing foreign officials from more than 30 countries at the Foreign Ministry’s International Conference in Digital Diplomacy, Netanyahu cited once again a new poll that purports to show Arab citizens’ increasing desire for their governments to establish ties with Israel.
The poll, commissioned by the Foreign Ministry, has been criticized by experts for its methodology, but Netanyahu this week cited its results in various forums.