The Ambassador, Channel Two, Wednesday 8:45 P.M.
You watch the cascade of preposterous promo spots, hear the bombastic declaration by the three distinguished judges, and ask yourself: Have they all lost their minds? Don't they sense how ludicrous they look? You might think, for a moment, that television broadcaster Keshet is substituting for the Foreign Ministry - if not for the entire government - and taking upon itself to salvage Israel's public relations overseas, single-handedly. Any moment now, and Keshet's CEO Uri Shenar will be responding to peace signals from President Assad. "Teenagers need to take responsibility for their country," says Jacob Perry, former Cellcom boss and spy chief. "You can make the world understand us," says former IDF spokesman, Nachman Shai. "This is a battle for global public opinion," the voiceover intones.
What are we talking about here? Another run-of-the-mill television series that is several sizes smaller than its public relations hype. Even the title is outlandish: "The Ambassador"
A true ambassador? No, all we're really talking about here is a public relations director for an organization whose name we have just heard for the first time. And where? In New York, where even Silvan Shalom meets with a round of applause. Why not in Paris or even London? Well that's "a not-easy place," as Channel Two's senior political correspondent Rina Matzliach says.
Beneath all of the grandiose wrapping and dramatic aesthetics (which, it can't be helped, bear a great resemblance to "The Apprentice"), was what boiled down to a boys vs. girls competition, which was as interesting as any boys vs. girls competition. The reason for the girls' failure was transparently obvious: It's better for Israeli public relations to talk about English soccer, as the boys did, than about the occupied territories, as the girls did ("We didn't take anything from the Palestinians," Ofra told students at Cambridge, and was greeted by gales of scornful laughter).
No wonder that sentence was highlighted in the editing. Somebody has to be kicked off the show, so why not Ofra? After all, Zionism can't be given the ax.
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