The Jewish Federation of Rockland hosted Stand With Israel: Blue and White Cyber Friday at the Rockland JCC to let the public know how they can help spread the word on what is going on currently in Israel.
Gil Lainer, consul for public diplomacy at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, spoke at the event, both about the situation in the Middle East and how people can help spread a positive message. He said first it’s important to understand the history of the situation in Israel. The way to do that, Lainer said, is through people.
“The way is through people like you, who send it out there,” he told the group of about 30. “I want you to continue to do that. I know that you all do it more or less. I want you to continue to do it, and it doesn’t have to be a letter to the editor, it doesn’t have to be a letter to your Congressman.”
He added that those in attendance on Friday should be leaders in the community on the topic of Israel.
“You’re all opinion leaders and trendsetters when it comes to Israel,” he said. “Whether you like it or not, the fact that you’re in this room todays shows and tells people and means that you care about Israel.”
Lainer added that those in the group need to be prepared to discuss Israel with others in the community, whether that means at work or a children’s soccer game or where ever, especially if the other person brings it up first.
“If somebody comes to you and talks to you about Israel, the way you answer, whether you choose to give them an answer or you choose to shy away from the topic altogether, will determine in many cases what he knows and his opinion because he doesn’t know,” he said. “Seventy percent of the population in this country don’t view Israel as relevant their everyday life.”
Lainer said that it’s important not to thrust the topic into conversation with someone, such as bringing it up out of the blue if you haven’t talked to that person about the situation in the Middle East before. He also said to try and speak to the persons interests and how those relate to Israel.
“Share with people the Israel you know,” he said. “If your friend is passionate about wine, make sure he tastes Israeli wine, or at least knows about it, knows about the existence of it.”
As for monetary assistance, Lainer told the group to purchase Israeli products to help the county’s economy.
Steve Gold, the incoming president of the Jewish Federation of Rockland, also spoke at the event, and told people that one way to get the word out is through various social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.