IDF Spokesperson meets with Arab media members

Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai holds special briefing with Arab media to mark start of Ramadan

Date: 08/04/2011, 5:54 PM     Author: Jonatan Urich

The IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s Unit on Wednesday (August 3) held a joint meeting with representatives of the Arab media in Israel.

During the meeting, which was held in cooperation with “The Israel Project”, IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poli) Mordechai met with 20 members of the Arab media and discussed a variety of security issues that are on the IDF (Zahal)’s agenda.

Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz, the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, also participated in the meeting.

Brig. Gen. Mordechai led the conversation in Arabic. The meeting was held to mark the beginning of the month of Ramadan.

The meeting began with a traditional “Iftar” meal, an Islamic practice during Ramadan. After the meal, the journalists talked with Brig. Gen. Mordechai and Maj. Avichai Adraee, who heads the Spokesperson Unit’s Arabic desk.

“This is an excellent chance for the Arab media to get to know the new IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson,” Maj. Adraee said, noting that the event has become a tradition through which the IDF (Zahal) honors the month of Ramadan.

“The fact that the IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson chose to hold his first briefing with the Arab media, demonstrates the importance that he personally, and the Spokesperson’s Unit generally, places on direct conversation with the Arabic speaking community in Israel and abroad.”

Maj. Adraee said that the Arab journalists were positively impressed by the joint conversation and by the IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson’s readiness to strengthen cooperation with them.

Maj. Adraee noted that the meeting was attended by journalists from all over the spectrum, from those considered to be pro-Israel to those who fiercely criticize IDF (Zahal) operations.

During the meeting, Brig. Gen. Mordechai referred to a long list of matters pertaining to the Arab world, from strategic issues such as the unrest in the Middle East to the IDF (Zahal)’s preparations for possible events in the near and long term. He also answered questions in regards to problems relating to media coverage in the West Bank.

The relaxed atmosphere that characterized the meeting also led to personal conversations. Some journalists found themselves discussing the prospects of the Maccabi Haifa soccer team in the Champions League with representatives of the Spokesperson’s Unit.

The direct conversation with Arab journalists is another step the IDF (Zahal) is taking to strengthen its cooperation with the Arab world. The Spokesperson’s Unit is entering the Arab world online, with a new website expected to be activated soon that will be an Arabic version of the official IDF (Zahal) website. Maj. Adraee himself operates a popular Twitter account that directly addresses the Arab public in Israel and abroad. In the near future, the IDF (Zahal) will establish additional social networking platforms to further its Arabic public relations efforts.