Hasbara

Yonatan Mendel

As a result of mounting anti-semitism in Europe and the generally poor showing of Israeli hasbara there, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education are sending a delegation of 11th-grade students on a hasbara mission to Europe.

Letter to headteachers

Hasbara is the noun form of the Hebrew verb ‘to explain’, in the sense of advocating a position. ‘Propaganda’ might seem the obvious translation but that might not do justice to the intensity of feeling that lies behind it. A Ministry of Hasbara was first created in 1974, with Shimon Peres in charge; in 1975 it was disbanded and hasbara became a multi-ministerial task. Since then, the importance of hasbara has come to the fore every time Israel has been involved in a major conflict – the 1982 war, the 1987 intifada, the 2000 intifada. In March 2009, two months after the invasion of Gaza, Israel re-established the Ministry of Hasbara; the current minister is Yuli Edelstein.

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