Israeli FM keen to improve country's image

June 9, 2009 at 8:40 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 9 (UPI) -- Israel's image abroad is its main foreign policy problem, its foreign minister said as he outlined his three-pronged approach to the peace process.

Speaking before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel must take drastic steps to change its image and the way it is perceived abroad.

"We cannot continue to have foreign policy success without dramatically improving the approach concerning how we are perceived in the eyes of the world by Western countries, the Free world ...," The Jerusalem Post quoted Lieberman as saying.

The ministry recently carried out a series of studies in Europe and the United States to understand how Israel is branded in the eyes of the world, Ido Aharoni, head of the ministry's Branding Israel Project, said. "We discovered that the Arabs, our competitors, have succeeded in doing to us what Borat did to Kazakhstan," he said, referring to the 2006 mockumentary starring the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as a fictional Kazak journalist interacting with people in the United States.

Lieberman said for peace to come about, Israeli security must be guaranteed, a stable economy must be in place and the region must be stable politically.

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