Israeli Flight Attendants Turn Diplomats


New initiative will see dozens of flight attendants speaking out for Israel on breaks between flights. First: North America


By: RONEN MEDZINI  
Published: March 16th 2011
in News » Israel

El Al Airlines flight stewardess

A new joint initiative between the Foreign Ministry and El Al will place flight attendants at the forefront of Israeli diplomacy. They flight attendants will undertake PR assignments which will, among other places, include university campuses around the world.

 

As part of the project, dozens of attendants will undergo a series of interviews and training program in Public Diplomacy ahead of their participation in the project, which will see them taking advantage of their stay abroad for PR missions.

 

El Al was surprised by the enthusiastic response: Over 100 flight attendants and pilots volunteered for the project.

 

Airline employees chosen for the special project will undergo one month's training where they will be instructed by the Foreign Ministry and personnel from the Stand with Us organization.

 

They will then share the information during flights and on days the aircrew spends abroad between flights. During these stays, usually used by the crew for rest, trips and shopping, the volunteers will spend their time delivering lectures and engaging in talks and meetings with local residents.

 

El Al, Israel's national airline, was happy to join efforts to improve Israel's image around the world. The initiative was given a green light by the company's CEO Major General (Res.) Eliezer Shkedi, while Vice President Yehudit Grisaro and project manager Alon Futerman who are promoting the project issued an appeal to the airline aircrews.

 

It is estimated that a project pilot will go ahead as early as next month at three North American destinations: Toronto, Los Angeles and New York in cooperation with the local Israeli consulates.

 

Among a series of tests, volunteers will be examined for rhetorical skills, presentability and foreign language skills – for languages other than English, in order to expand the initiative to additional destinations.

 

El Al stressed that this wasn't "established diplomacy" and that "a group of employees will be presenting ideas from across the political spectrum and will focus on showing the beautiful face of Israel reinforcing the identity of society and state, rather than addressing controversial issues."

 

This article first appeared on Ynet and is reprinted with permission.



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