There are some who think Israel’s international reputation is poor because it doesn’t do a good enough job spreading the country’s message. Consequently, Hasbarah (lit. explanation) is definitely a big deal in Israel. To wit, during its recent conflict in Gaza (in November, in case you forgot), the army deployed a Hasbara Strike Force to get out the good word.
There is another school of thought that says that Israel is actually doing the best it can for its international reputation, but that no amount of effort could really make a difference: the reality on the ground is so damning that even the best media campaign couldn’t cover things up.
The debate has been rehashed too many times to count, but an article that appeared today in Haaretz officially decided it — Israel could really use more work on its image:
IDF’s new military gas masks, inspired by Darth Vader
Unlike the current Israeli mask, the M50 provides a larger visual field and its filters are located on either side of the head rather than near the mouth. The design, which resembles the mask worn by Darth Vader in the Star Wars film series, allows exposure to dangerous chemical substances for 24 hours and changes color when the filters are about to stop operating.
So, it’s an image problem. Good luck dispelling the notion that Israel is an imperial, colonial force in the West Bank. I’d say the Hasbara guys have their work cut out for them.
And just a suggestion: if you ever run into an Israeli soldier with one of these masks obstructing his visage, let him know: “I find your lack of face disturbing.”