NEW ISRAEL ADS WOO TRAVELERS WITH LURE OF PAST

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Despite outbreaks of violence, the Israel Ministry of Tourism will unveil a new U.S. campaign next month themed "No one belongs here more than you."

Two 60-second radio spots from AC&R, New York, start airing in mid-April in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. One commercial, aimed at general travelers, describes Israel's unique place in the world and history. The other urges Christians to make the Bible come alive for their children with a visit. TV spots and upscale magazine ads will follow in the fall.

The new advertising replaces the "Hope to see you soon. Love, Israel" campaign from longtime agency Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer. That effort talked about the "promise of peace" and "what a glorious time to be here." Previous Biederman advertising was themed "Come to Israel. Stay with friends." The contract with Biederman expired at the end of last year.

The new campaign is designed to convey Israel's unique place in world history and the profundity of the travel experience.

"We wanted to convey a bigger story than the friendliness of Israel and convey the magnitude of the experience," said Steve Bennett, AC&R president. "Also, we needed a message that rang true" to Catholics, Protestants and Jews, and those who travel out of intellectual curiosity.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism has a $3.5 million to $5 million budget for the U.S. campaign. But with recent violence marring the region's fragile peace, the ministry expects "maximum funding" of $5 million or more, said Daniel Multer, director of marketing and promotions for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, North America.

The events following the Feb. 25 Hebron massacre also caused AC&R to speed development of the campaign.

"With current events, we wanted to make things happen very quickly," Mr. Bennett said. "We want to take a pro-active stance .*=.. and not let events dictate."

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