The speaker of the 120-member house, Dan Tichon, of the ruling Likud party, approached Moshe Theumim, president and CEO of Gitam, to help out with the Knesset's image problems. Knesset members are notoriously rowdy, and televised Knesset plenum sessions constantly show scenes of unruly behavior and a gross lack of decorum. Recently there has been public outcry against Knesset members approving themselves a substantial salary increase at the same time severe budget cuts have hit the elderly and the poor.
Theumim, a close friend of Labor opposition leader Shimon Peres, agreed to take up the challenge to help improve the Knesset's image. He met with Tichon earlier this week, and told Advertising Age that his agency would volunteer its services for this purpose. "This is an important step for the nation, and is vital for Israeli democracy," Theumim explains. Gitam has a policy of donating its services for a couple of public service campaigns every year. Some of these campaigns have included road safety awareness and cancer prevention.
The campaign will be an ongoing four-year push. The first step will be to enlist the services of academics to carry out extensive public perception surveys. Decisions on exactly how to run the campaign will be based on the research, but it will be an integrated public relations and advertising effort. Tichon has set up a Knesset work group which is to liase with Gitam.
Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.