The Channel started operating on December 29. According to Israeli militaries it “should help us bring our message to the world”. As of December 31 it hosts 10 black-and-white videos, some of which have been viewed more than 20,000 times.
Today the channel has more that three thousand subscribers while the total number of viewers exceeded 110,000. According to the applied explanations the clips show destruction of the Hamas government complex, rocket launching sites, military depots as well as smuggling tunnels used by combatants to illegally deliver arms. One video shows what is described as a Hamas patrol boat being destroyed by a rocket fired from an Israeli naval vessel.
In so doing, the ZAHAL Spokesman’s unit claims that certain video materials posted in the website earlier were removed by the You Tube administrations. “We are saddened that YouTube has taken down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF’s operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF spokesman’s unit said.
The distributed message says:"As the state of Israel again faces those who would see it destroyed, it is imperative that we in the IDF show the world the inhumanity directed against us and our efforts to stop it.”
It is noteworthy that it is not the first effort of Israeli force structures to exert influence on the public opinion thru high-technologies. Only this year, the Israeli special services several times used the cyberspace. In particular, three videos were posted on You Tube describing an act of terror in Jerusalem school Merkaz HaRav, when 6 schoolchildren were killed.
Despite the website did not indicate that the videos were posted directly by the Israeli government, one newspaper reported that they have been posted by a government official as sanctioned by the authorities. The official himself said that in future similar videos will be posted on You Tube after each act of terror.
A next similar effort war taken in summer 2008 when the Israeli authorities posted a video named “Samir Kuntar – New Hero!” by the moment of POW exchange between Israel and Hezbollah.
According to the video Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese citizen, accused of terror is still alive as distinct from his five victims and is supposed to be freed.
At the same time in the video a terror victim named Smadar Aran-Kaizer on the northern coast of Israel looks back recollecting that here is the place where her family was bleeding, and thinks that a man, who has committed this crime, will go at large.
Smadar tells about the crime in English.
Narrator: “In the Arab quarters everybody respects Kuntar as a hero, and the bloodshed is considered justified because it is aimed against the Israelis. Nobody cares that that the victim is a 4-year old girl”. “Is he your hero?” asks the video.
Obviously the authors of the video first of all address the European public and Europe-oriented people in other countries. Yet, a similar video was shot also for Arab states. An Israeli narrator dressed in a good suit speaks Arabic against bookshelves. His speech is emotionless and just explains the stand of Israel and its reprisals against terror acts of Arab combatants.
An Israeli website created some time ago similar to You Tube is also noteworthy. In spite of the fact that it bears no political burden, this site nevertheless highlights political events in the country and actively promotes the Israeli lifestyle.
At the same time we have to note that Israeli websites became a kind of response to Arab organizations, which actively operate in the cyberspace. Their websites focus on education of children and teens in the respective manner. In particular, certain websites promulgate a thesis in the teens’ audience that the best way to deserve glory, honor and respect is to “go through the way of Jihad”.
The current attempt of the IDF to attract attention of the world society to the activities of Arab terrorists is not only continuation of previous attempts but also manifestation of increasing attention paid to the Internet-technologies including for achievement of military goals.