"IDF dealing with complex reality – both operationally and in public relations"

Archive photo: IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson

Lt. Gen. Gantz says IDF (Zahal) needs to be prepared for all contingencies, due to unrest in the Middle East

Date: 18/05/2011, 1:28 PM     Author: Florit Shoihet

“Those who watched carefully what occurred on the Golan Heights (on Sunday), saw that in some cases the infiltrators stood with their cameras in front of them, and what interested them was broadcasting the picture,” Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said on Tuesday at the annual conference of “The Israel Project”, an organization that works to bring full and accurate information about Israel to journalists, media professionals and diplomats in order to change the bleak picture of Israel that is presented in the international media.

“The reality today is more complex operationally, but is also equally complex in terms of public relations,” Lt. Gen. Gantz said.

The chief of staff also referred to recent unrest in the Middle East, saying that events in the region are “rolling very quickly, and the situation is changing. We find ourselves in a situation that in some certain ways could in the future present a challenge to the state of Israel that is not simple.”

Lt. Gen. Gantz added he hoped that the changes will lead to greater respect for human rights and the elevation of the status of women in the Middle East.

“When that happens, we will find ourselves on the road to a better future,” Lt. Gen. Gantz said.

The chief of staff then added a note of caution.

“We must prepare for the possibility that this will not happen and that fundamentalist and radical forces will take advantage of the chaos in the region,” Lt. Gen. Gantz said. “In a certain way, [the situation] reminds me of the reality in 1967, and therefore we need to be prepared for operations of all dimensions.”

The conference was also attended by IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, former chief of staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, foreign journalists, media officials and members of “The Israel Project”. The organization was founded in 2002 by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and has centers in Jerusalem and Washington. The organization is not connected to any government and its activities are designed solely to improve the image of Israel in the international media by providing quick and reliable information to journalists and leading public officials.

Marcus Sheff, the executive director of the organization’s Israel branch, said: “We work very closely with the IDF (Zahal), especially with the international media branch of the Spokesperson’s Unit. The cooperation has proven itself over the years.