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Controversial Israeli ad geared to expats resurfaces

JTA

March 15, 2012 | 10:20 am

An Israeli ad aimed at expatriates living in the U.S. that had come in for criticism by the American Jewish community has reappeared online and in an Israeli magazine.

The ad, calling on Israelis living in the United States to return to Israel, appeared in Atmosphera, the magazine of El Al Airlines. The ad was in Hebrew, the Washington Jewish Week reported.

In addition, a video advertisement promoting the same message that was the subject of controversy in December continues to appear on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Absorption. The website displays the ad showing an American child failing to receive a response from his father when calling him “daddy.” Once the child calls his father “abba,” Hebrew for dad, the father responds to the child. The conclusion of the ad comes with a message in Hebrew stating that the parents “will always remain Israelis; their children will not. Help them return to Israel.”

Israeli Embassy spokesman Lior Weintraub told the Washington Jewish Week that the embassy was unaware of the particular ad until it was brought to its attention by the newspaper.

Weintraub emphasized that “this particular ad is addressed exclusively to an Israeli audience and it’s in Hebrew. It should not be offensive to American Jewry. Because we are a small state, every citizen is precious to us, and we would like them all to come home.”

The ad in question was similar to a previous ad that was circulated in a wider campaign that was the subject of controversy in December. The campaign consisted of billboards in at least five American cities and three television commercials that ran on satellite TV channels with Israeli content.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately ordered the controversial ad campaign removed from the Internet and television after American Jews argued that the campaign demeaned American Jewish life.

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