Speak Farsi? Netanyahu's Got a Job for You

An adviser to Israel's premier tweets about a new job on the market - a Farsi-speaking spokesperson - but his new recruit probably won't be in the job long before he is forced to explain to the Iranians why Israel declared war.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The Twitter account of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisers do not normally produce particularly interesting tweets. Most of the time they include technical copies of Netanyahu's press releases and declarations that have been adapted to the 140-figure format of a tweetable comment.

However, as the saying goes, even a broken clock shows the correct time twice a day.

On Sunday morning, while I was browsing through my Twitter feed, I came across an interesting tweet by Netanyahu's spokesperson to the Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, who informed his 15,000 followers that the National Information Directorate at the Prime Minister's Office was looking for a Farsi-speaking spokesperson.

Gendelman's tweet also included a picture of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a speech bubble containing text in Farsi, and a caption emphasizing that anyone who knew how to read the speech bubble's text was likely to be a good candidate for the new position.

In all honesty, one does not need to know how to read Farsi in order to understand what was written in Ahmadinejad's speech bubble. All one needs to do is think of Netanyahu's mantra that he loves to recite and hint at. For anyone who is still trying to guess, it was Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and cease to exist.

This is the first time the National Information Directorate has set out to recruit the services of a Farsi spokesperson. I approached Gendelman, requesting further details on the new initiative, and asked whether this was being done at the request of the prime minister himself. Instead of information, I received a general answer, which to be truthful, was typically evasive.

"The prime minister attributes great importance to public relations in general and particularly to the Arab world and Iran," Gendelman noted, "The National Information Directorate also applies that instruction by recruiting a Farsi-speaking spokesperson for publicity over new media for the Iranian nation both in and outside of Iran."

In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September, the prime minister presented his famous criteria for the Iranian bomb, declaring that Iran would approach the "red line" of uranium enrichment by the spring or summer of 2013.

Tender processes for new roles at the Prime Minister's Office usually take some months, so this newcomer is not likely to have much time to acclimatize. For if Netanyahu was not bluffing in his UN speech, his Farsi spokesperson will quickly find himself or herself forced to explain to the Iranians why Israel went to war against it by bombing its nuclear facilities.

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