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Israel Police Expanding Use of Social Media for PR

Media unit will conduct conversations with negative users and support those with positive things to say.The Israel Police’s 100-person media division is expected to add 70 new positions, including three officers with the rank of chief superintendent, in an effort to improve the force’s image following the bad publicity generated by numerous recent cases.
The new group will be focused on social media networks, where police can reach the public directly, without the mainstream media as an intermediary. Some of the new employees may be employed as civilians under contract to the police, while others may need to be drawn from spokesmen’s units in the field. The expanded division will be stationed in the Har Hotzvim industrial zone in Jerusalem.
Brig. Gen. Yuval Gat, who is responsible for the new project, was recently recruited as head of the population and spokesman’s division, though until now few people in the police could explain exactly what his job was. Within the next week he will present Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and other senior officers with a plan formulated with police spokesman Cmdr. Merav Lapidotto to overhaul the police public relations apparatus. Alsheikh has seen an outline of the plan and has given it a green light.
The objective is to monitor social networks to find articles and posts that portray the police negatively or criticize the police and try to conduct conversations with the responders. The policemen will also try to uncover positive stories at the various police stations and talk to residents who’ve had positive experience with the police, offering them technical and professional support to post positive things about the police.
Gat recently conducted a tour of police stations and tried to explain the move to police station commanders, but the latter argued that what he was asking would not always be possible, given the stations’ workload.
Supt. Sharon Yeminha, the head of the police’s new media unit, is eventually expected to take over the expanded division and be promoted to chief superintendent. Yeminha recently posted “We don’t buy in a supermarket whose workers hit policemen,” on his Facebook page, in an apaprent attempt to encourage a boycott of the Super Yuda supermarket in Tel Aviv where an Arab worker was beaten by border policemen last month.
The expansion is the latest in a series of moves Alsheikh has made to try to bolster the police’s image. Earlier this year, a public relations firm was hired without a tender and given an 800,000 shekel ($208,000) annual contract, while the Tandem consulting and training firm is being paid 400,000 shekels for its services.

Yaniv Kubovich
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.722694
Schermata 2016 06 03 alle 23.18.59

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The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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