In another show of the country’s emphasis on a strong social media presence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is petitioning his citizens to vote for the official logo for U.S. President Barack Obama’s state visit in March.
The logo contest is an effort by the prime minister’s office to increase the hype and anticipation of Obama’s visit. On Netanyahu’s official Facebook page, the prime minister posted logos designed by three graphic artists early Sunday morning. The logo with the most “likes” will be the one selected by the Israeli government to appear on signs, flags and official documents during Obama’s first visit to the troubled Middle Eastern country and close ally. The contest runs until Tuesday at 14:00 GMT.
Obama’s visit is being called “Operation Unbreakable Alliance,” and the three potential logos have the phrase written into their designs. The logo with the most likes currently is a photo that combines the American and Israeli flags.
The state visit has been confirmed by both governments, but the details and dates have yet to be disclosed. However, both Israeli and Palestinian reports indicate the visit will be between March 20 to 22 and Obama is rumored to be meeting with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah, a city located in the West Bank.
However, Gestetnerupdates.com reports that Obama’s stay will be heavily focused on Israel: The U.S. president will be staying in Jerusalem for 43 hours and only staying for four hours in Ramallah.
March will actually mark the first time Obama visits Israel during his presidency. Director of the PMO’s National Information Directorate Yarden Vatikai explained how the logos are important for Obama’s first visit to Israel.
“With the logos we want to show that the visit is something very important to us and that we’re taking it very seriously,” he told The Times of Israel. “The president of the United States is coming — this is a major event and we want to present Israel as a host that honors its guest.”
Israel’s push to expand the country’s social media presence doesn’t only involve ceremonial visits, but the government has been discussing key military operations via Twitter as well. Back in November, Israel launched a military operation with the goal of killing a major Hamas official. However, unconventionally, the news was released by the Israeli Defense Forces’ international spokesperson, Avital Leibovich, via her Twitter account.
— Avital Leibovich (@AvitalLeibovich) November 14, 2012
In an interview with our sister site iDigitalTimes, Leibovich spoke about the decision to release the news of the operation on Twitter as opposed to other methods, like a press release to the international news outlets.
"We have realized that the interactive media is war zone and decided to engage maximum audiences through a variety of platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, a blog and a website,” Leibovich said. “We operate in a few languages -- English French, Arabic, Russian, Spanish and Hebrew."
Leibovich also elaborated on the importance of sites like YouTube and Flickr.
"Video clips are important to our [social media] activity and we have some prepared in advance," she said.
In addition to announcing the operation on Twitter, the IDF also uploaded a YouTube video of its airstrike targeting Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, the head of the Hamas military that was assassinated. You can see the video below.