Hearts and Minds

Israel and the Battle for Public Opinion

By Nachman Shai

Subjects: Israel Studies, Political Communication, Jewish Studies, Mass Media, Public Policy
Hardcover : 9781438469058, 284 pages, April 2018
Paperback : 9781438469065, 284 pages, January 2019

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Table of contents

List of Figures
List of Interviewees

1. “Why Are the Jews Shooting at Us?”

2. The Durban Conference: A Strategic Ambush

3. “Smart Power”

4. Low-Intensity Warfare

5. Globalization and the Media Revolution

6. “Drink More Water”

7. “Even When We Do Something, Nothing Comes of It”

8. Voice of Israel

9. The Unseen Shield?

10. Thinking Outside the Box: Or, We’re Always Ready

11. “National Explainer”

12. Blood on Their Hands

13. Was There a Massacre?

14. Deploying a Public Diplomacy Network

15. Countering the BDS Movement

Epilogue When Peres Died
About the Author

Uses Israel’s public diplomacy efforts during the second intifada (2000–2005) as a prime example of interactions between state security, diplomacy, and the media.


Small-scale wars, terrorism, and guerilla warfare, each characterized by low-intensity violence are the new global reality in the twenty-first century. States in general, and liberal democratic states in particular, are compelled to develop a new operational approach to deal with these phenomena. At the same time the world of diplomacy is experiencing its own upheaval, its old closed-door practices being displaced by the demand for ongoing public diplomacy. Concurrent with these developments, individuals and nongovernmental organizations harness the new media revolution to create powerful global networks to promote common causes, transcending the state and breaking its exclusive control over information.

In this book, Nachman Shai examines the case of Israel, a liberal democratic state faced with an incessant stream of diverse, low-intensity threats. Shai discusses the military, political, economic, legal, and public diplomacy fronts of the second intifada (2000–2005) and how Israel deliberated its response in an environment where the state is only one of the players in a global arena in which individuals, nongovernmental organizations, and international news corporations all operate.

Nachman Shai is Member of the Knesset.


"…[Shai's] examination is far-reaching and incisive … He provides a wide-ranging understanding of Israeli public relations over the past 20 years. His descriptions and analyses are detailed and presented in a scholarly tone. The book would be useful in any setting, but is most appropriate for universities with communications and public relations programs. " — AJL Reviews

"Through Shai's highly persuasive and constructive criticisms, he also reveals the internal rivalries that hinder effective policy. Consistently, but with civility, he points out who has contributed to hasbara, and who has impeded progress. Names are named. Shai is, after all, a politician. However, he is also an impassioned scholar. His clarity and thoroughness—including extensive notes and references—make this book an important read for all who care about Israel's future. " — Jewish Book Council

In Praise of the Hebrew Edition:

Winner of the 2013 Yitzhak Sadeh Prize for Military Literature

"A must-have book for every politician, government official, journalist, businessperson, researcher, and student. " — Eytan Gilboa, Bar-Ilan University

"An instructive treatise that illustrates the centrality and importance of public diplomacy in the decision-making and planning processes. " — Ron Prosor, Israel's Former Ambassador to the United Nations

"This compilation of research will henceforth be a classic volume in every library that purports to encompass the topic of war in Israel from every angle, be it traditional or innovative. " — Haaretz