The Israel Defense Forces is seeking to hire a professional who will oversee public relations campaigns on behalf of the army. Candidates must have three to five years' experience in advertising and public relations, and the job will involve “leading media campaigns from the creative stage to implementation,” according to an ad on the IDF website.
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The IDF already has a publicity division tasked with initiating PR campaigns, under the auspices of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, which is today headed by Col. Ronen Manelis.
The department was set up five years ago five years ago and has been responsible for various internal information campaigns, such as the one a few months ago calling on soldiers to be cautious about using social media, as well as media efforts aimed at the public – like the 2013 campaign called “A Strong IDF” that featured promotional content. From time to time the army uses the services of soldiers who do reserve duty in the spokesperson’s office and work for advertising agencies in civilian life.
In 2015 the cost of IDF advertising in the local media doubled over the previous year. According to an IDF document posted by the Seventh Eye media website as part of its archives project, the army paid more than 6 million shekels (over $1.5 million) two years to underwrite TV, radio, print and digital media advertisements; in 2014, it spent only 2.9 million shekels. The document gave no explanation for the sharp increase.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit says, “In recent years the IDF has broadened its use of advertising campaigns due to a desire to bring the public relevant information about the army’s activities. Examples of this are the campaign calling for the return of IDF equipment, as a result of which some 14 million shekels worth of materiel was returned to the army. We would also note the campaign to stop the spread of false rumors online about casualties.
“Moreover, the IDF is required by the Civil Defense Law to conduct public information campaigns for the civilian population, which is why there is a widespread publicity campaign each year by the Home Front Command. Given that no IDF officer has yet been found with the appropriate background to do the job, the army is now seeking a campaign director with the appropriate training who will enable the IDF to fulfill its advertising needs.”
The individual enlisted to fill the new post will likely receive an officer’s rank, since the job is defined as an officer-level position.