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Israeli PM conducts Twitter diplomacy with Arabic tweets

By Anav Silverman
Tazpit News Agency
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now tweeting in Arabic on a new Twitter account opened in mid-December. The development caught the attention of the Saudi Internet news service, Al Arabiya, which reported this week that Netanyahu’s Twitter account has drawn new followers from Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon, currently numbering 671 followers.
“The aim of this account is to deepen the dialogue with you,” said one of the first tweets by the Israeli Prime Minister in Arabic on December 14, which was later followed by “Greetings from Jerusalem,” and seasonal wishes from the Holy Land for those celebrating Christmas.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office originally joined Twitter, in addition to YouTube and Facebook in August 2010 with the conviction that “social media channels today are vital to Israeli public relations, government transparency and keeping the public informed,” according to a statement by the prime minister’s bureau.
In general, Middle East leaders are increasingly utilizing Twitter to engage people and one another, according to a study, called Twiplomacy conducted by the global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller in August of this year (twiplomacy.com). According to the Twiplomacy study, “Twitter has become a new way to communicate with world leaders and a way for these leaders to communicate with each other.”

“The aim of this account is to deepen the dialogue with you,” said one of the first tweets by the Israeli Prime Minister in Arabic on December 14, which was later followed by “Greetings from Jerusalem,” and seasonal wishes from the Holy Land for those celebrating Christmas.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office originally joined Twitter, in addition to YouTube and Facebook in August 2010 with the conviction that “social media channels today are vital to Israeli public relations, government transparency and keeping the public informed,” according to a statement by the prime minister’s bureau.

In general, Middle East leaders are increasingly utilizing Twitter to engage people and one another, according to a study, called Twiplomacy conducted by the global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller in August of this year (twiplomacy.com). According to the Twiplomacy study, “Twitter has become a new way to communicate with world leaders and a way for these leaders to communicate with each other.”

The study found that nearly two-thirds of world leaders have accounts on Twitter, with 45 percent of those accounts personally managed by world leaders. The Burson-Marsteller study assessed 264 Twitter accounts belonging to leaders from 125 countries, which combined have nearly 52 million followers.
In the Middle East and North Africa, 21 regional leaders have Twitter accounts.