Move Over, Michelle Obama

Sara Netanyahu follows America's first lady in joining hashtag campaign on behalf of kidnapped youths - though the results of the earlier effort aren't very encouraging.

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Sara Netanyahu holding the #BringBackOurBoys sign (photo from 'Bring Back Our Boys' Facebook page).
Sara Netanyahu holding the #BringBackOurBoys sign (photo from 'Bring Back Our Boys' Facebook page).

Move over, Michelle Obama.

Sara Netanyahu, Israel’s first lady – or the closest equivalent, being the wife of the prime minister – has jumped on the hashtag campaign bandwagon.

A week after the kidnapping of three yeshiva students in the West Bank, a photograph of Mrs. Netanyahu is making its way across social networks in which she is holding up a piece of paper with the hashtag #BringBackOurBoys, which has been adopted by various worldwide efforts to harness world opinion to press for their return and show support for their families.

The hashtag was modeled on the campaign #BringBackOurGirls which was aimed at facilitating the release of Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. That campaign received a significant boost when First Lady Michelle Obama in the White House took to Twitter with a photograph of herself holding a piece of paper with the hashtag slogan.

Will Sara Netanyahu’s photo have a similar impact on the visibility of #BringBackOurBoys?

Only time and social media will tell. In the meantime, some Israelis are lobbying for the original – trying to press Michelle Obama herself to visually throw her support behind their campaign.

This week, a member of the Knesset, Aliza Lavie posted a video on her Facebook page imploring Obama to get on board. "I'm talking to you mother to mother and woman to woman," Lavie said. "Please help us to bring the boys back home."

The Israeli campaigners shouldn’t forget, however, that while the campaign for the Nigerian girls may have been a public relations triumph, and has created increased political and military pressure on Boko Haram, it still hasn’t translated into the actual return of the kidnapped girls. Viral photos are all well and good, but the only ones that should really matter would be pictures of the three kidnapped Israelis back home.

Michelle Obama with the #BringBackOurGirls sign (screenshot).

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