Posted by: israelembassysa | October 14, 2010

Foreign Ministry launches official ‘Israel’ YouTube channel

Foreign Ministry launches official ‘Israel’ YouTube channel


First Facebook and Twitter, and now YouTube are part of Israel’s conquest of digital diplomacy.

The Foreign Ministry launched its official Youtube channel on Wednesday at the web address, with the channel featuring nearly 130 videos about life in Israel. Until Wednesday, all of the Foreign Ministry’s videos were presented on the Israel MFA page.

The launch of the Israel YouTube account comes a month after the Foreign Ministry paid a Spanish man 3 thousand dollars to release the rights to the @Israel Twitter page.

Chaim Shacham, the director of the Foreign Ministry’s information and internet department, pushed the effort to obtain the Twitter and YouTube accounts, and he is now in talks with Facebook to take control of their Israel page.

“It is very important for us to secure our brand on those channels,” said Shacham, “and because of that we have tried to look for the best brand recognition possible, and that’s ‘Israel.'”

The videos on the Israel YouTube channel will not deal with political topics, but rather focus on presenting life in Israel in a positive manner. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has kept their IsraelMFA YouTube account in addition to the Israel channel, to post all the videos that deal with topical issues like the Gaza flotilla or peace talks with the Palestinians. They have made the same distinction between their @Israel and @IsraelMFA accounts on Twitter.

“We call these videos ‘Israel beyond politics;’ these videos have to do with Israel as an innovative nation, it can be high tech, or medical advances, or cultural issues,” said Shacham about the recently launched channel.

The Foreign Ministry has its own camera crew and production equipment to produce videos for YouTube, and they include links where viewers can download the videos to repost on their own websites.

While the new YouTube channel only has 321 subscribers at the time this article was written, the Israel Twitter account has 8,681 followers and 23,453 people “like” the Israel page on facebook.

Shacham did not say who previously had the rights to the Israel channel on YouTube, and he would not discuss if they paid for the rights to the account like they had done the previous Twitter user.

The Foreign Ministry’s emergence into social media began about a year and a half ago when they opened accounts under the name IsraelMFA on the three social media sites.
“Engagement is very important in social media, and that is what social media affords us that we don’t have on regular websites,” said Shacham. “So if we see a discussion is taking place and they need some input from the Israeli perspective, that’s when we join in.”

The remaining challenge for Shacham is to regain control of the Israel Facebook page, which he says Facebook froze due to issues with representing a country with a fan page.

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