One month ago we have experienced in Israel something very unusual – the strike of the Israel Diplomatic service. Diplomats rarely go to strike, as diplomacy is considered an important element of the national security. But this time diplomats protested against the deterioration of their working conditions in the last 15 years, and there was a high level of mobilization among them. The diplomats felt that while praising their difficult work, the government did nothing to provide them with fair salaries. As much as unusual diplomats’ strike could be, after all it was a working dispute in the public sector, which happens often in Israel.
Facebook page of the diplomats’ strike’ called “Save the Diplomatic Service”
However, what was really unusual, and in my eyes even amazing – both as a participant in this strike and the firm believer in Gov 2.0 – was the use of social media by diplomats in order to mobilize public support for our struggle. The public and media support were essential for the success of this struggle, because diplomats didn’t have meaningful leverage on the government or the public: they can’t stop the functioning of the economy, or impact the everyday life of the ordinary citizens. The impact of diplomats’ strike is very limited and could happen only in the long term. That’s why the public support for their demand was so critical.
But why should the public support the diplomats? After all, diplomatic service is considered as a prestigious and exclusive club and has always had an image mixing mystery, luxury and dolce vita. Israelis of course, are no exception and have the same image of diplomacy and diplomats. So why should the public support this struggle? From the very first days of the strike this question was asked by many people in the Facebook, which is very the most popular social network in Israel, more than Twitter or LinkedIn).
It’s so popular, that more than 50% of the Foreign Ministry employees have their personal accounts in Facebook…. Read more here