The days of Israeli diplomats siding with the Palestinian cause, or embarrassing themselves with their lack of familiarity with the Jewish prayer book, are over. Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Ministry Director-General Dr. Dore Gold have altered the new course for diplomatic cadets starting Sunday at the College of Statesmanship in Jerusalem, with changes including compulsory tours in Judea and Samaria, lectures from faculty who are affiliated with the right side of the political spectrum, Jewish studies, and a class on the justification for Jewish settlements in regard to international law, Israel Hayom reported.
Hotovely said that she added several educational topics to the training course, primarily helping Israel’s future diplomats to acquire tools to deal with contemporary issues challenging Israeli information dissemination, including knowledge of international law regarding the legality of Jewish settlements, knowledge of the laws of war in light of Israel’s struggle against terrorism, and defending Israel in debates of ethics and warfare.
In a recent Facebook post, Hotovely reported on a lecture she had delivered at the College of Statesmanship, on the topic of An Ethical Foreign Policy, revealing “things that not everybody knows about Israel’s foreign affairs, because they don’t receive media exposure.”
“Israel is a beacon of science and technology development for large parts of the world. World powers such as India and Japan, and other countries in the East and in the rest of the world, see Israel as a trailblazer in providing solutions to 21st century problems,” Hotovely said, adding that, “in meetings with officials of all countries, the themes that emerge are Israeli developments in medicine, agriculture, water infrastructure, technology, and security.”
“Israel’s shop window displays more and more contribution to humanity,” Hotovely noted in her lecture. “The best propaganda is the economic value of Israel alongside strengthening the moral prowess of Israel in the world. It is important to recognize and understand this aspect of Israel’s foreign policy.”
Pundits and politicians on the right have complained for years that the training course for diplomatic cadets conducted by the Foreign Ministry has had a leftist bias, and that the way to change it is by changing the teaching staff. But Foreign Ministry senior officials told Israel Hayom they consider the claims “absurd,” noting that the course does offer tours of Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. They called the news about the revamping “a spin on Hotovely’s part.”
However, an examination of the changes show at least a refreshing of the existing program, if not something more radical: there will be a tour of the City of David, near the Temple Mount, guided by David Be’eri, one of the heads of the Jewish community there; a tour of the Jordan Valley with Major General (Res) Uzi Dayan; and a guided observation of the city of Sh’chem with Benny Katzover, one of the leaders of Jewish settlement in Samaria. Also, the course will include a visit to the Barkan industrial park, to witness first hand the reality of Palestinians working side by side with Israelis. Cadets will also receive a series of lectures on the subject of tikkun olam (“fixing the world”) and Judaism’s universal message.