The Story Behind The ‘Lost’ Ad
Turns out the group wanted more shekels
The controversial Israeli ad thatimplied that non-Israeli Jews, particularly those who intermarry, are somehow “lost,” and which uses ominous train imagery to get its point across, was actually the extremely misguided result of a bold attempt to reinvigorate the Masa organization’s brand in Israel, where its backers hope that the government will pick up even more of its tab. Masa, an organization that brings foreign Jews to Israel to live and study, currently receives half of its annual $39 million budget from the government, and half from the nonprofit Jewish Agency. But, according to JTA’s Fundermentalist blog, the Jewish Agency has sustained massive cuts, and was consequently hoping that Israel would contribute 75 percent of Masa’s budget in the future. That’s why Masa was trying to grab the attention of the Israeli government’s constituents with a provocative ad. That plan, of course, completely backfired: an uproar ensued, the ad has been pulled, and Masa is certainly in a weaker position vis-a-vis getting more money from the Israeli government than before. Apparently, though, much of the dissatisfaction with the ad, at least among Masa’s Jewish-American backers, stems not exclusively from its content but from its steep, $850,000 price tag. Bad enough it was a stupid campaign with an offensive message; you couldn’t even get a decent deal?