Tuesday, October 25, 2011
El Al air crew to promote Israel
Airline's pilots, flight attendants turn into Israeli ambassadors upon landing in foreign countries
While their colleagues from other airlines take advantage of their stay abroad to rest, go sightseeing or shop, El Al's flight attendants and pilots will be delivering lectures and meeting with local residents in a bid to improve Israel's image in the world.
The Israeli airline will launch this Wednesday a new voluntary initiative at New York's Yeshiva University, which will see El Al's air crew take part in Israel's PR efforts.
The project was initiated by El Al CEO Elyezer Shkedy together with the Jewish Agency, the Foreign Ministry and the StandWithUs pro-Israel education and advocacy organization.
The first "ambassadors" have undergone intensive training in the past few months, and will convey the messages they learned between flights, during their stays abroad.
The project will be supervised by Yehudit Grisaro, head of El Al's in-flight services department, and Alon Futterman, who is in charge of the Jewish Agency's summer missions.
"Hundreds of stewards and pilots have offered to take part in the project, which is completely voluntary," they explain. "We chose those with language skills, rhetoric and representative features, seeking to present the State of Israel's beautiful, positive and apolitical face, which is not displayed through the foreign media."
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In an effort to improve Israel's image abroad, the country's national airline El Al has decided to recruit its pilots and flight attendants to become unofficial diplomats in promoting the country abroad.
The project called Blue and White El Al Ambassadors was initiated by the airline's chief executive officer Eliezer Shkedy who said the aim was to encourage airline staff to engage in public diplomacy in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto.
The project was launched at the Yeshiva University in New York and is sponsored by the Stand With Us advocacy group, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In recent months El Al pilots and flight attendants have undergone intensive training to prepare for the role that will require them to talk to the public abroad.