Trending Topics:

Israel pays journalist $61,800 for good press during Pope’s visit

on 18 Comments
Pope Francis. (Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope Francis. (Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

When Pope Francis makes his historic visit to Israel this May as an invited guest of the Knesset the press coverage will surely be pearly, because the government is paying a journalist $61,800 to do just that. Portuguese-Israeli correspondent Henrique Cymerman will receive the sum for producing reports in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Israel’s Government Advertising Agency (the actual name of the state-owned department) commissioned Cymerman to cover the trip.

In a departure from procedure the state’s advertising arm sought out Cymerman to film 14 reports, rather than calling for bids on the contract, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. The agency’s website hosts copies of bids won, however Cymerman’s is not listed.

The Government Advertisement Agency spends millions each year on tourism plugs for Israel displayed all over the world, and public service announcement. If you’ve ever watched Israeli television, you’ve probably seen overly dramatic commercials on childbirth benefits, or drunk driving and look both ways before crossing. That’s their work, soon to add to their repertoire the Pope’s visit to the holy land.

Israel Government Advertising Agency commercial for the Ministry of Transportation, a warning against drunk driving.

The Pope’s visit will come just a few weeks after a row between evangelical Christians and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) over the Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in Bethlehem earlier this month. Speaking to Israel Hayom, an Israeli daily owned and bankrolled by Republican casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, the MFA lamented the conference was “particularly problematic, because it is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership – an extremely important audience to us.”

Of course the Pope is not of the evangelical, but courting Christian leaders and communities has become a staple of Israeli tourism. Both Pope John-Paul and Benedict also visited Israel early on during their tenures as heads of the Catholic church. And there is even a Knesset Christian Allies Caucus designed to “build direct lines of communication cooperation and coordination between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world.”


Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

18 Responses

  1. Kay24
    March 25, 2014, 9:29 am

    This is pathetic. Their image and reputation are so bad, they are one of the most disliked nations in the world, and their military occupation is bringing them world condemnation, so they have to PAY a journalist to give them a good review!
    They stoop so low just so they can get someone to write a fake review, in their attempt to deceive the world.

  2. seafoid
    March 25, 2014, 9:51 am

    Once more, we see Israel as the freak with the supermodel girlfriend , paid for by his father in Wall St.
    Nobody respects him. Why not?

    • bintbiba
      March 25, 2014, 10:03 am


      • seafoid
        March 25, 2014, 11:11 am

        Palestine as the poor man with the noor al ain and the natural smile , so much richer than Israel in his walled off compound of hate and paranoia.

    • hophmi
      March 25, 2014, 11:55 am

      Once again, we see Mondoweiss reporting a totally routine thing as if it were something nefarious. Governments make tourism videos all the time. There’s nothing unethical about a journalist taking such a project as long as full disclosure is made.

      • James North
        James North
        March 25, 2014, 5:09 pm

        hophmi: Why did you scuttle away from the racism in the Times Book Review thread?

      • hophmi
        March 26, 2014, 11:27 am

        “hophmi: Why did you scuttle away from the racism in the Times Book Review thread?”

        Scuttle away from what? I’m not obligated to keep up with every thread here. Clearly, because there are others here who can make the same arg as I did, like Antidote, and also because I have little else to say about it. I would not put things as the letter-writer does.

        Once again, I think it’s ironic to complain about the Times printing a letter that lumps Palestinians together in a group (and the writer is clearly talking about the Palestinians in a political sense, but I know the obsession with accusing everybody on the other side of being a racist while claiming no one on your side is), while supporting a policy like BDS, which is about lumping Jews together in a group.

        There’s also no point in engaging people who cannot admit that Mondoweiss comment sections are full of anti-Jewish racism. They’re simply in denial.

      • talknic
        March 25, 2014, 6:34 pm

        @ hophmi Once again, we see an Israeli apologist making excuses

        “There’s nothing unethical about a journalist taking such a project as long as full disclosure is made”

        There is something quite un-ethical tho about a Government mis-representing itself

      • Daniel Rich
        Daniel Rich
        March 25, 2014, 7:01 pm

        @ hopmi,

        Q: Once again, we see Mondoweiss reporting a totally routine thing as if it were something nefarious.

        R: Regardless whether you dis/agree with the content of the article, be happy it’s dragged from underneath the skirts of obscurity into the limelight of a wider audience…

        Huh? Oh, that’s why you’re on to it…

      • just
        March 25, 2014, 7:16 pm

        LOL! hophmi– you do provide some good comic relief.


  3. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    March 25, 2014, 11:54 am

    What a shame. All that money spent and now the pope’s gonna be a no-show.

    Pope Francis has been forced to cancel his planned visit to Israel, which was to take place over May 24-26, due to the ongoing labor dispute at the Foreign Ministry.
    The Times of Israel

    • Daniel Rich
      Daniel Rich
      March 25, 2014, 7:06 pm

      @ lonely rico,

      Q: All that money spent and now the pope’s gonna be a no-show.

      R: Right off the bat, I hope your nom du plume is not indicative of your real state of being.

      Boo-hoo. The Apartheid State intercepted an ‘Iranian’ ship with a boatload of weapons ‘destined’ for whomever and then that Malaysian plane overshadowed all that frazzle-dazzle…

  4. Real Jew
    Real Jew
    March 25, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Lol Israel’s attempt to distance itself from their ugly reality is beginning to be comical. Their rebranding efforts has and will continue to fail miserably in the face of growing international awareness. I guarantee the pope will have some very critical statements about their policies towards the Palestinians and israel will try to suppress them

  5. The JillyBeans
    The JillyBeans
    March 25, 2014, 3:27 pm

    Sounds like graft/bribe.

    • just
      March 25, 2014, 7:07 pm

      Sounds like business as usual. They pay hasbarists don’t they?

      You know I see ads begging for donations to give money so kids don’t go hungry, will have a happy Purim, to pay for the EMS to save Jewish lives… not enough money to provide for their people, but plenty for the propagandists……

  6. ThorsteinVeblen2012
    March 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

    Who else feeds at this trough or the others like it?

    Politicians, reporters, Christian Zionist leaders, talk show hosts and business leaders.

  7. DaBakr
    March 25, 2014, 6:25 pm

    why bother paying anybody? this pope is like one big happy press junket-in-a-can for almost ALL concerned. he seems to know what to say and how to say it to appease both sides in a long running conflict while sticking to the basic tenets of his church. he is not controversial by nature and he is the first pope in my lifetime that I can truly say would make me much more proud to be part of the catholic church. so whats your beef? MW takes money from Zionist hating supporters to keep bringing you all the articles and Palestinian hasbara that you all want to hear. whats is the difference? its not like there won’t be independent press around in Israel-the country in the ME with the highest concentration of reporters from all over the globe

Leave a Reply