March 19, 2013 – How is Israel viewed by others? How do perceptions of Israel differ based on whether the viewer is located in the Middle East or in the wider international community, including the social media community? These perceptions are critical to helping Israeli leaders develop effective public diplomacy and achieve policy goals, yet until now there has been little objective data or research available in this area. Targum Shlishi is supporting a new project that is addressing this lack. The Israel-Arab Studies Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is engaged in a psychological research project whose objective is to establish a research-based approach towards understanding various aspects of the Israel-Arab dynamic and its effect on various populations.
“We want our current and future leaders to approach the Israel-Arab dynamic from a position of logic and evidence rather than emotion and stereotypes,” explains Irwin (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, Ph.D., who heads the research effort and directs the Israel-Arab Studies Program. “Understanding how others think and feel is critical to appreciating the complicated issues involved in the Israel-Arab relationship.”
The Psychological Research Project is conducting a series of research studies that will provide data to help political leadership develop and inform diplomatic strategy. Dr. Mansdorf explains that tools used will include surveys, focus groups of specific populations, and other methods that will provide leaders with empirical data.
“How Israel is viewed by others has long been an issue of much discussion and concern,” notes Aryeh Rubin, director of Targum Shlishi. “There is a great deal of effort expended by many organizations that deal with Israel’s image with very little to show for it. I have long advocated for a major overhaul in the propaganda efforts by Israel and the Jewish community.” [Note: for more on this topic, go here to read Aryeh Rubin’s lecture “Jewish Unity and Disunity, Then and Now,” delivered at Bar-Ilan University.]
About the Israel-Arab Studies Program
The Israel-Arab Studies program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is now in its seventh year. Previous funding from Targum Shlishi made the creation of the program possible. The program’s approach provides students with direct exposure to all sides of the Israel-Arab conflict. The program was conceived and is directed by Irwin (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, Ph.D., who established it as a way to counter anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activism on American college campuses.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website: www.targumshlishi.org.