David Saranga

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Sir Salman Rushdie and David Saranga at a breakfast honoring Israeli writer Amos Oz in New York City (September 2008).

David Saranga (Hebrew: דוד סרנגה‎) (born February 18, 1964) is an Israeli diplomat and former Consul for Media and Public Affairs of Israel in the United States.[1] Saranga was responsible for Israel’s image in the United States and was the liaison person of Israel to the American media. The Jewish Chronicle described him as “The man whose campaigns are rebranding Israel."[2] Saranga’s initiative to invite Maxim magazine to Israel generated debate about the definition of public diplomacy. Prof. John H. Brown of Georgetown University described this initiative as the first event in a new branch of Public Diplomacy.[3] Saranga was the first diplomat who implemented Web 2.0 governmental initiatives, including the first official blog of a country,[4] a MySpace page,[5] YouTube channel, Facebook page[6] and a political blog.[7]

Saranga fielded questions on behalf of Israel in what was the first government worldwide press conference via Twitter to take questions from the public about its war with Hamas.[8][9]

In March 2008, former Time Out Tel Aviv editor David Kaufman wrote a feature story about Israel’s branding project, where he profiled the wide range of initiatives Saranga launched during his tenure in New York.[10]

Biography[edit]

Saranga was born in Tel Aviv. Prior to joining the Consulate in New York, Consul Saranga served as Deputy Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, and was responsible for all contacts with the foreign media based in Israel. During this period he was responsible for Israel’s PR campaign around the International Court of Justice hearing in The Hague, regarding the Israeli West Bank barrier, and also was the person who coordinated and executed Christopher Reeve’s visit to Israel in 2003.

Saranga has also served as the First Secretary for Media and Public Affairs at the Israel Embassy in Spain and as deputy ambassador at the Israel Embassy in Romania. He prepared for public service in the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he studied Diplomacy and Political Economy. Saranga earned his B.A. degree from the Hebrew University Department of Social Sciences (1990), and he received his MBA degree from the Hebrew University Business School in 1993.

2008 Israeli war with Hamas[edit]

Saranga had a high profile during the Israeli airstrikes against Hamas.[11] Particularly making headlines was Saranga's announcement that Israel would be the first government to hold a worldwide press conference via Twitter.[12] In what the Jerusalem Post called "Battlefront Twitter", Saranga answered questions from the public about the war with Hamas.[8]

After recording artist Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, dedicated a song to the children of Gaza, Saranga criticized that the song was not dedicated to all the children of the region, including Israeli children who are victims of the violence.[13]

Publications[edit]

Essay: If dialogue is a crime, we are all guilty, Jerusalem Post, Published April 16, 2009.

The Israel-Gaza war, by the numbers, New York Daily News, Published January 9, 2009.

Promoting Israel in a Downturn, The Jewish Week, Published December 17, 2008.

‘Dance,’ he told him, ‘dance’, Ynet News, Published September 22, 2008.

Understanding Israel’s Painful Decision, The Jewish Week, Published July 9, 2008.

El plan saudí y la seguridad de Israel, Embajada de Israel, March 2002.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leventher, Uri, "The diplomat who tweeted", Globes, October 14, 2009.
  2. ^ Meet David Saranga, the man whose campaigns are rebranding Israel, David Russell, The Jewish Chronicle, May 22, 2008
  3. ^ Public Diplomacy Goes 'Pubic', John H. Brown, University of Southern California public diplomacy site, July 11, 2007.
  4. ^ Israel Video Blog aims to show the world 'the beautiful face of real Israel', Ynet, February 24, 2008.
  5. ^ Israel seeks friends through MySpace page, Bobby Johnson, The Guardian, March 23, 2007.
  6. ^ Israel's New York Consulate launches Facebook page, Ynet, December 14, 2007.
  7. ^ Latest PR venture of Israel's diplomatic mission in New York attracts large Arab audience, Ynet, June 21, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Battlefront Twitter, HAVIV RETTIG GUR, The Jerusalem Post, December 30, 2008.
  9. ^ Israeli Consulate to hold public press conference via Twitter, Daniel Sieradski, JTA, December 29, 2008.
  10. ^ Best Face Forward, By David Kaufman, AdWeek, Published March 17, 2008.
  11. ^ Israel boosts efforts for support of Gaza attacks, Alexandra Bruell, PRWeek, December 30, 2008.
  12. ^ Israel's Online Ammo: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Sean Hennessey, WCBS-TV, December 30, 2008; accessed December 30, 2008.
  13. ^ Israeli Official Blasts Cat Stevens' Song for Gaza Children, Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News, January 26, 2009.