Wednesday, September 2, 2009

VIDEO: New MASA Israel ad campaign targets Jews 'abducted' by intermarriage

Religion and State in Israel

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Ad campaign trying to bring 'lost Jews' together backfires

By Paula Hancocks September 16, 2009

The head of education at the Jewish Agency, a co-sponsor of MASA, said the intentions were good even if the end product wasn't.

"There is a great fear and a concern in world Jewry about the future of the Jewish people and there is a strong belief that an intensive year spent together with young Jews, and in Israel, will help strengthen the identity of young Jews," said Alan Hoffman, who leads the group's education wing.

The backlash created by the campaign ultimately resulted in it being pulled after three days.

"The PR campaign should bring the Jews of the diaspora closer and not alienate them," said Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency.

New MASA Israel ad campaign targets Jews 'abducted' by intermarriage

By Dana Weiler-Polak September 2, 2009

The Prime Minister's Office and the Jewish Agency unveiled an aggressive advertisement campaign for the MASA project which is designed to strengthen Jewish identity among youths in the Diaspora and their bonds to Israel.

One video clip likens Jews who marry outside of the religion to missing persons, with fake notices and pictures which drive home the point.

As part of the campaign, similar "missing person" notices will be plastered on walls around the country.

MASA hopes the campaign will spur the public to commit to the cause of preventing marriage to non-Jews, which Jewish Agency officials believe is tantamount to a "strategic national threat."

The head of the campaign, Motti Scharf, compared assimilation to the critical water shortage.

"Even though this is an existential problem, the public in Israel is displaying apathy towards it because the process is slow and not dramatic, out of sight," he said. "The time has come to put the issue on the table."

If you cannot view Video, click here to view online.

Campaign recruits Israelis to combat assimilation in U.S.

By Cnaan Liphshiz September 3, 2009

The 10-day Hebrew-language campaign, to be shown on television and online, was prepared by a leading advertising firm at the behest of MASA, a partnership between the Jewish Agency and the Israeli government that helps finance and market semester- and year-length Israel programs for Diaspora Jews.

"More than 50 percent of young Jews assimilate," the filmed commercial informs viewers through the voice of Ayala Hasson, a top reporter for Channel 1. "We are losing them," she adds, as soft, melancholy flute music plays in the background.

The 33-second clip features images of missing-person posters hanging in locales in Europe and North America. The posters, in English, French and Russian, show young people with Jewish-sounding names. One "lost" person can be seen wearing a T-shirt that reads "I love Israel."

The ad then asks anyone who "knows a young Jew living abroad" to call MASA. "Together, we will strengthen his or her bond to Israel, so that we don't lose them," the announcer concludes.

The advertisement is MASA's first appeal to the Israeli public."So far, MASA has advertised itself only to prospective candidates [for its programs]," said Ayelet Shiloh-Tamir, MASA's CEO, at a press conference held at the offices of Scherff Communication, the advertising agency.

By Haviv Rettig Gur September 3, 2009

Do you have a college-age Jewish relative or friend in the United States? If so, an $800,000 public relations blitz launched by the Masa Project wants you to convince them to come on one of its five-month to yearlong programs.

Since one-third of Jews are estimated to have relatives in Israel, Masa, together with Israeli advertising and public relations firms Shlomi Drori and Scherf Communications, believes they can be reached through family networks.

"In the eyes of the Israeli public, the Diaspora is a UFO, a satellite," campaign architect Motti Scherf explains. "So it's not going to be an easy campaign."

There is little doubt that Masa has expanded the participation in long-term Israel programs among Diaspora youth. But five years on, it seems to have peaked at some 8,000 annual participants. The problem may not be so much the lack of coaxing from distant Israeli relatives, as the sheer cost of participation.

The average nine-month Masa program - they range from five months to a year - costs some $15,000. While there are special grant programs, the average participant gets just $3,000 toward that cost.

"We have to convince these young people to give not just their time, but also their money," says Shilo-Tamir - a harder sell than ever in tough economic times.

Thus, the polished high-profile campaign is aimed as much at Israeli decision-makers as at the public. If Masa can lower the participant's share of the program cost - that is, if Masa can get much more funds from its contributing bodies, the Prime Minister's Office and the Jewish Agency - "it would double and triple participation in the blink of an eye," noted Alon Friedman, Shilo-Tamir's deputy and the director of Masa's Israel operations.

The total Masa budget is approximately $40 million, according to Shilo-Tamir.

"MASA is a project of the government of Israel, the Jewish Agency of Israel, and made possible through the generous support of the United Jewish Communities, the Federations of North America, and Keren Hayesod - UIA."

If you are reading in email or RSS feed, please click here to read ONLINE

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.