A special Israeli youth delegation, including Druze, Arabs, Jews, Ethiopian immigrants and representatives of the gay community, plans to leave next week on a unique public diplomacy campaign at leading US and Canadian universities. The delegation, entitled "Faces of Israel", was formed at the initiative of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, with the assistance of the Foreign Ministry, and is designed to have Israelis present Israel. All members of the delegation volunteered to put aside their daily routines in order to undergo special training to present and represent abroad the true faces of Israeli society.
Minister Edelstein explains:
"We believe that this is the right answer to the campaign of delegitimization that is taking place against Israel around the world. The Ministry's pre-emptive activity will acquaint local students with their Israeli peers, face to face, in order to bring about genuine familiarity with Israeli society. The delegation will divide into groups that will be sent to the various universities and participate in various forums, including open panels and direct meetings on campuses."
"This is a new strategy that seeks to promote the human face of Israel not just by means of ministers and diplomats in suits but directly, face to face, by means of regular people who go out into the field."
The delegation's activities will lead into a main event that will take place in New York on Sunday, 6.3.11, in which Minister Edelstein will speak on the importance of the struggle against the campaign to delegitimize Israel.