New project introduces Israel to popular bloggers around the world

UploadEuro project participants touring Tel Aviv, Sunday.
Photo credit: Facebook

New project introduces Israel to popular bloggers around the world

Yehuda Shlezinger-Israel HaYom

UploadEuro program, organized by StandWithUs and the IDC, helps top bloggers experience Israel firsthand so they can share the experience with millions of followers worldwide • “We want to show them Israel’s multiculturalism,” volunteer says.

An innovative project seeks to change Israel’s international image, one blogger at a time, as part of the StandWithUs organization’s fellowship program.

As part of the initiative, 26 Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya students volunteering with the project have made it their mission to introducing seven popular bloggers from across the globe — and their millions of readers — to Israel as they’ve never seen it before.

The UploadEuro project is a continuation of the “Upload” project launched last summer, which did the same while focusing on South American bloggers.

Ricci Cohen and Lihi Biton, two of the students involved in the project, told Israel Hayom that the seven bloggers combined have over 9 million followers from around the world on social media.

Travel blogger Ruhi Cenet, for example, has the fourth most-followed blog in Turkey, with 2.4 million subscribers. Krzysztof Gonciarz, originally from Poland, now lives in Tokyo and has almost 600,000 subscribers on YouTube. Yarissa Rodriguez hails from the Dominican Republic and runs an English and Spanish language lifestyle blog with over 1.5 million subscribers.

Cohen and Biton explained that they want to change Israel’s international image, a mission they believe can be best achieved by bringing social media opinion leaders to Israel, where they can experience all it has to offer firsthand and share it with their fans, thus debunking preconceived perceptions.

The seven bloggers will crisscross Israel’s hot spots, visiting Jerusalem and the Dead Sea among other places.

“We want to show them Israel’s multiculturalism,” said Cohen. “We sat in a restaurant in Jaffa, and they didn’t understand how it’s possible for Arabs and Jews to sit together like that — they really didn’t think it was like that. We’ll show them the places holy to all religions in Jerusalem.”

Cenet, who arrived from Istanbul to participate in the delegation, told Israel Hayom that “the Turkish people don’t know anything about Israel, they only form [their opinions] from the media, and there they show Israel as a war zone. … [But] there is no hatred toward Israel in Turkey.”

He said that despite the Mavi Marmara incident — the deadly 2010 raid of a Turkish vessel trying to breach the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip that soured Turkish-Israeli relations for years — “there are many Turks who have other opinions. They don’t think of Israel being a vacation destination, and I think that after they see what I upload, this will change.”


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