IDF Spokesperson's Unit


IDF Spokesperson's Unit

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit (
*The IDF Spokesperson's Unit was established as the liaison between the IDF and the domestic and foreign media and general public. The unit performs a variety of functions, including serving as the spokesperson for the IDF to domestic and foreign media, developing and implementing IDF public relations policies, disseminating military related information to the public, instructing IDF personnel in matters pertaining to public relations, and developing relationships with media outlets and accompanying them to military events [http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/units/branches/amatz/Spokesperson/default.htm] .
*The Spokesperson's Unit is headed by a Brigadier General and sits in the IDF's Operations Directorate. It is also represented on the IDF General Staff Forum and is directly subordinate to the Chief of the General Staff. The unit services some 500 media outlets and 2500 journalists and civilian agents, addressing over 2000 inquiries a month.
*By charter, the unit is forbidden from engaging in Psychological Warfare and from the desemination of falsified information

History

The first IDF Spokesman was Lt. Col. Moshe Pearlman, a journalist and immigrant from Britain who was appointed in 1948 with the establishment of the State. After the first several years of activity, the IDF Spokesperson's office was upgraded to unit status, under the authority of the Military Intelligence Directorate of the IDF. It was further upgraded to a full brigade in 1973.

In 1979, Brigadier General Yaakov Even opened the film and photography departments in the IDF Spokesperson's Unit which in turn opened the first International School for Combat Journalism and Photography in 2007.

During the Gulf War in the 1990's, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit was repositioned to directly report to the IDF Chief of Staff. The head of the unit at the time, Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai, changed the unit's uniform tag to the one it has today. It was later placed under the Operations Directorate during changes to the army made in 2000. In the year 2006, the Chief of Staff concentrated the Spokesperson's Unit as the professional military authority in matters of public relations. Within this concentrated framework, new branches, fields, and positions were opened within the unit.

Despite its presence on the front lines since 1948, the unit has only suffered one combat fatality, Sergeant Lior Ziv, a photographer who was killed during military operations in 2003.

Leaders of the Spokesperson's Unit

*1948-1952: Lt. Col. Moshe Pearlman
*1952-1953: Lt. Col. Amindav Fry
*1953-1955: Col. Nachman Karni
*1955-1957: Col. Nachmia Brosh
*1957-1959: Lt. Col. Shaul Ramati
*1959-1963: Lt. Col. Dov Sini
*1963-1967: Col. Aryeh Shaliv
*1967-1969: Col. Raphael Ephrat
*1969-1973: Col. Yossi Calev
*1973-1974: Brig. Gen. Pinchas Lahav
*1974-1975: Brig. Gen. Ephraim Poran
*1975-1976: Brig. Gen. Dov Shion
*1976-1977: Brig. Gen. Yoel Ben Porat
*1977-1979: Col. Yitzchak Golan
*1979-1984: Brig. Gen. Yakov Even
*1984-1989: Brig. Gen. Ephraim Lapid
*1989-1991: Brig. Gen. Nachman Shai
*1991-1994: Brig. Gen. Eilan Tal
*1994-1996: Brig. Gen. Amos Gilad
*1996-1999: Brig. Gen. Oded Ben Ami
*2000-2002: Brig. Gen. Ron Citri
*2002-2005: Brig. Gen. Ruth Yaron (First Woman to Lead Unit)
*2005-2007: Brig. Gen. Miri Regev
*2007-Present: Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu

tructure

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit is responsible for the IDF's information policy and media relations in both peace and war time. The unit is divided into several sub-units which deal with various areas of activity including domestic and foreign press liaison, public relations, information, photography, film, video, organization and training.

*IDF Spokesperson: The IDF Spokesperson heads the IDF Spokesperson Brigade and holds the rank of Brigadier General. The IDF Spokesperson is subordinate to the Chief of the Operations Branch, who holds the rank of Major General, and is a member of the IDF General Staff Forum. The current IDF Spokesperson is Brigadier General Avi Benayahu, who was appointed to the position in August 2007. Deputy Spokesman Colonel Ze'ev Sharoni and Head of the Media Branch Col. Ofer Kohl sit directly under Brig.-Gen. Benayahu.
*Brigade Operations Branch: Provides logistics, organization and administration for all the brigade's operations.
*Strategic Branch: Responsible for building strategies for use in the brigade's operations. The branch is split into two primary departments, research and strategy.
*IDF Spokesperson Film Unit: This unit is responsible for the production of public relations material in accordance with the public relations policy of the IDF Spokesperson's unit. The unit's most famous product was "Two Fingers from Sidon," a film about Israeli soldiers in Lebanon released in 1985. The unit is made up of seven departments: Internet (operates the IDF official websites), photography, video, editing, archives, production and post-production.
*The Training Branch: This directional branch produces military press releases and assembles the communications and messages of the IDF. The branch is split into two main parts: the Department of Doctrine and Drills, and the School of Communications, which is located in the Dayan base in the Glilot region and is responsible for the communication training of senior IDF commanders.
*The Communications Branch: Responsible for the daily management of communication with various media outlets for specific target audiences. Large-circulation Israeli newspapers such as Yedioth Aharonoth, Maariv and Haaretz, as well as smaller newspapers, religious media, radio and internet sources, are all assisted by the Communications Branch on military and security matters.
*Strategies & Initiatives Branch: Resposible for rearch and analysis on message effectivity. Serves as senior consultant to IDF and Spokesman in all strategic PR issues, both long and short term. Operations of this branch are led by a Lt. Col. and international operations are handled in consultation with a staff of former combat reservists with significant field experience.
*The Operations Branch: The center of the army's public relations information system, this branch is in constant communication with those in the field. The branch is subservient to the IDF Spokesperson and has an office in each regional headquarters. The branch also contains a reporting department. The branch operates 24/7 and is responsible for all outgoing IDF Spokesperson press releases, beeper messages, updates for newspapers, etc.
*Foreign Press Branch: Responsible for the administration of IDF communications with international media outlets, and for shaping the image of the IDF in the foreign public arena through various outlets. Through the different desks – News Desk, North America, Europe and the Pacific, Latin America and Asia, Arabic and Russian – the Foreign Press Branch deals with requests and inquiries from foreign news media. The branch is divided between the News Desk, which answers real-time questions, and the Regional Desks, which deal with long-term and informational requests. Major Avital Leibovich heads the Foreign press branch.

References

* [http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/ IDF Spokesperson Website (English)]
* [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/idfspokesperson.html IDF Spokesperson from the Jewish Virtual Library]
* [http://www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=7&docid=63375&Pos=1&last=1&bScope=True Colonel Avi Benayahu appointed to the position of IDF Spokesperson]


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