An Israeli university has hosted a hasbara hackathon, which saw students gather to create ways to improve Israelâs image and undermine the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
The âiHackâ event, held at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is the latest example of Israeli students and institutions of higher education enlisting themselves in Israelâs global PR offensive.
According to organisers, the event sought to âbring together a community of creative, technical and passionate individuals to work together in teams to create media, content, campaigns, and apps for Israel advocacy.â
The goal was âdeveloping products to promoteâ three objectives: âmaking Israel advocacy more accessible to the publicâ; âcountering the BDS movementâ; and âpositively branding Israel.â
The Technion students behind the project are all part of the âIsrael Fellowshipâ scheme run by Israel advocacy organisation StandWithUs.
The hackathon was run with the help of think-tank the Reut Institute. According to Reut, âthe aim is to enhance and develop tools which can be used by activists and organizations fighting against the BDS Campaign and Israelâs delegitimization across the world.â
According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the Technion-hosted event was also held in collaboration with arms company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, as well as âthe Student Union and the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Technion.â
The director of public diplomacy at Israelâs Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry was also in attendance.
Rafael provided 20 employees as âmentorsâ, along with âother experts in the fields of software and engineering, political science, marketing and graphic design.â
Under the direction of Rafael employee âEzraâ (âwhose last name was withheldâ), one group created a âdiplomatic Iron Dome.â According to the paper, âthe team envisioned anti-Israel expression as the missile, and their app as the Iron Dome that must intercept it.â