May 7, 2013
Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has officially closed its gates
This week, the Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs officially closed. With almost no media recognition, it has become a division in the Prime Minister's office. From a ministry to a division, just like that.
I find this move unacceptable. Did someone think we no longer need the ministry’s services? Did someone think our image in the eyes of the world suddenly became perfect, and that our actions will always look good in the future? Did someone think we no longer need a Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs? If so, that someone must be blindfolded, or perhaps is living someplace else and mistaking it for Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs is one of the most important ministries we have. Its employees work day and night to show the world the full and accurate picture of Israel’s reality. They monitor every false or imbalanced report, and help spreading the truth. They deal with issues using the most important tool every country possesses—diplomacy.
It’s true that many Israelis have independently become involved in Israel's foreign affairs, mostly via Facebook. Many Israelis have taken up the roles of mini-ambassadors, and they are doing a good, if not great, job. But closing the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs is a mistake. No Facebook activity or international blog can replace the formal and integral role of the ministry.
Downsizing the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs into a small division is disrespectful to us, the citizens of Israel. We do our best to spread the word about Israel's true self, correcting mistakes and refuting lies, day and night, with only Israel's best on our minds. We want to help our government in its important diplomatic mission, but the decision to close the ministry has made our job of spreading the truth much harder. The closing of the ministry sends a message that "we don't care what other people think about Israel." That's a dangerous message that most of us, Israelis, don't agree with and don't stand behind.
The mistake of closing Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora has already been made. Now, we will have to work even harder to prove we believe in diplomacy and international advocacy on behalf of Israel. In my opinion, the decision to close is not supported by most of us, who believe in its necessity. Now, I only hope that the someone who made this mistake will wake up soon, and change his mind.