February 2015

Written by Allie Rosen

On February 2, 2015, The Nachshon Project had the opportunity to meet with Michael Yakobi. Michael Yakobi served the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a very unique capacity. In the Spokesperson’s Unit, Yakobi was in charge of the IDF’s presence on social media. The different networks of social media that the Spokesperson’s Unit is in charge of includes, but is not limited to, their YouTube channel and Twitter handle.

It is clear that we live in a world where social media has a great impact on the spread of information and public opinion of major world events. So it would make sense that war and military action would not be very different. The Israel Defense Forces was the first military to revolutionize war through the use of YouTube and live twitter feeds.

It is no secret that the media skews the manner in which the Arab-Israeli conflict is portrayed to the public, so the IDF took measures into their own hands in attempts to get the word out about the real tactics and missions of the IDF. On their YouTube channel, the IDF posted videos of second hand explosions in Gaza that proved the schools and other civilian sites were being used to store military weaponry in recent war. However, the media did not accept this footage because it did not fit well into the image of Israel that they try to portray, so Israel found a way of showing it to the public and attempt to level the slanted playing field they have been given.

One of the most interesting parts of learning from Michael Yakobi was discovering a whole new purpose to social media. In today’s world, nearly anyone who owns a smart phone spends several hours a day checking social media. Whether it is Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, people are constantly displaying themselves on the Internet for others to see. It is remarkable to see that the IDF can use social media to achieve a goal much larger than showcasing a cool vacation. It will be interesting to see where the world is headed in terms of social media and military action, and it is amazing to think that Israel revolutionized this surprising area of warfare.