As we first reported yesterday, MASA has officially dropped the television ads for their ‘Lost’ campaign.
At its heart, MASA is a partnership between Israelis and Jews from around the world with a common purpose-strengthening the Jewish People by bringing young Jews to Israel. The main goal of a recently launched ad campaign in Israel was to try and engage an often apathetic Israeli population in MASA and involve them in the key goal of bringing larger numbers of young Jews from around the world on long-term Israel programs. The immediate and very strong reaction to this campaign has highlighted the critical need for all Jews, whether living in Israel or outside of Israel, to develop an ongoing dialogue and greater understanding around key areas of sensitivity for Jews in all communities.
While this campaign attempted to motivate the Israeli public to be more involved in this collective enterprise, the images that were chosen touched many raw nerves. Clearly, there was a disconnect around how some of the images and wording – designed to be provocative towards an Israeli public that for too long has been largely disconnected and disaffected from its responsibility towards its fellow Jews – would be received by many Jews outside of Israel. At the same time, there was some misinterpretation on the part of the Israeli press about the actual content of the ads, which also impacted this sense of misunderstanding.
The Jewish Agency and leadership of MASA have made an immediate decision to refocus MASA’s ad campaign in Israel by moving to its next phase, which will no longer include the contentious images that have appeared on Israeli television.
Israel can be a convener and connector for Jews everywhere and MASA intends to challenge Israelis to take an active role in building a stronger Jewish future by helping expose young Jews, ages 18-30, to the “real” Israel for a semester or a year. Through a wide variety of long-term Israel experiences, we can connect the next generation to our people, our Judaism, and our homeland, and realize our shared goals of creating a more vibrant Jewish future and a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community.
I look forward to continue partnering with you to advance our common agenda to bring more and more young adults to Israel in the coming new year.
North American Director, MASA
update: also this story from Wednesday’s JPost, Masa ends controversial campaign
The original campaign drew condemnation from many quarters, including American Jewish bloggers, educators and journalists, for referring to the assimilated – many observers understood the intermarried – as “lost.” It also drew condemnation from some Israeli quarters, such as publicist Sefi Shaked, who is married to a Romanian Christian woman and called the campaign “racist.”
…“As a publicist, I know there are more ways than one to pass on a message. The method the Jewish Agency chose [JA officials have denied the campaign was launched by the agency, saying it came from Masa – HRG] is racist, immoral and in bad taste,” Shaked concluded.