Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Israel to pay for online defence

15 August 2013, 09:39

Jerusalem - Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks - without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said.

The Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement on Wednesday that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students' messages would parallel statements by government officials.

"This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption," the statement said.

An Israeli official said that scholarship recipients would be free to decide whether or not to identify themselves as part of the programme, which would begin within months.

"Everyone who believes in the cause, and wants to join, can join," he said. He said the office was looking to budget $778 000 for the project, and that the national Israeli student association would select participants from a pool of applicants.


The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the project is still under development and he wasn't authorised to speak publicly about it.

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz identified the official heading the project as Danny Seaman, a public diplomacy official who has written posts on his personal Facebook page which Haaretz described as being incendiary and anti-Muslim.

Haaretz posted what it said were four screen shots of his recent posts.

In one of them, Seaman wrote: "Does the commencement of the fast of the Ramadan mean that Muslims will stop eating each other during the daytime?" In another, he uses profanity in a comment about the chief Palestinian peace negotiator.

The Israeli official said Seaman's posts were "unacceptable and do not reflect the position of the Israeli government". He said the national communications directorate in the Prime Minister's Office had instructed Seaman to "immediately cease from making such pronouncements".

Seaman declined comment, and the posts could no longer be seen on his Facebook profile on Wednesday.

The official from the prime minister's office would not say whether Seaman, a former director of the Government Press Office who had a contentious relationship with the international media during his tenure, would be the project's director.

Hate speech

Public image is a paramount concern to Israeli officials. The prime minister's office oversees a national initiative for "hasbara" - a Hebrew term that officials translate as public diplomacy and critics call propaganda.

This initiative is intended to combat what officials see as popular discourse that goes beyond legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and constitutes hate speech that threatens the very legitimacy of Israel's existence.

The Israeli army has set up an "Interactive Media" division of a few dozen soldiers tasked with spreading the army's message on social media sites.

When Israel's army launched an offensive on Gaza militants late last year, the Israeli government set up a "media bunker" with hundreds of young volunteers posting updates reflecting Israel's point of view. Many Israelis believe the international news media are anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...