MASA Ad Campaign

September 6, 2009 / 17 Elul 5769

At its heart, MASA is a partnership between Israelis and Jews from around the world with a common purpose—strengthening the Jewish People by bringing young Jews to Israel on MASA.  The main goal of our recently launched ad campaign in Israel was to try and engage an often apathetic Israeli population in MASA and involve them in the key goal of bringing larger numbers of young Jews from around the world on long-term Israel programs.  The immediate and very strong reaction to this campaign has highlighted the critical need for all Jews, whether living in Israel or outside of Israel, to develop an ongoing dialogue and greater understanding around key areas of sensitivity for Jews in all communities. 

While this campaign attempted to motivate the Israeli public to be more involved in this collective enterprise, the images that were chosen touched many raw nerves.  Clearly, there was a disconnect around how some of the images and wording – designed to be provocative towards an Israeli public that for too long has been largely disconnected and disaffected from its responsibility towards its fellow Jews – would be received by many Jews outside of Israel.  Though we engaged in many consultations with experts and lay people of varied backgrounds before launching the campaign, not one anticipated the intensity of the reaction outside of Israel.  At the same time, there was some misinterpretation on the part of the Israeli press about the actual content of the ads, which also impacted this sense of misunderstanding.

The Jewish Agency and leadership of MASA have made an immediate decision to refocus MASA's ad campaign in Israel by moving to its next phase, which will no longer include the contentious images that have appeared on Israeli television.  We will, however, continue pursuing creative approaches to bringing Jews from Israel and from around the world together in this important partnership of MASA. 

Israel can be a convener and connector for Jews everywhere and MASA intends to challenge Israelis to take an active role in building a stronger Jewish future by helping expose young Jews, ages 18-30, with the "real" Israel for a semester or a year. Through a wide variety of long-term Israel experiences, we can connect the next generation to our people, our Judaism, and our homeland, and realize our shared goals of creating a more vibrant Jewish future and a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community.

I thank all those who have provided such constructive feedback to us over the last few days—you are our partners in this extraordinarily important endeavor.

Ayelet Shiloh-Tamir, CEO

CC:   Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary, Co-Chair MASA Steering Committee
 Alan Hoffmann, Co-Chair MASA Steering Committee
 Aaron Abramovich, Adv., Chair of MASA Board of Directors

For further information contact:
Michael Jankelowitz,
Liaison to the Foreign Press, Jewish Agency for Israel
Mobile: +972-52-6130220
Voice-mail: +972-2-620-2780 




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