News Brief

Israel’s ambassador to Austria was named public relations person of the year.

Dan Ashbel was cited by the Austrian Public Relations Association for his work in improving Israel’s image.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has been criticized over the years over its representation of the state, especially regarding the Middle Eastern conflict, but Ashbel has marketed a different Israel.

His Israel Tram project in August allowed passengers on a cable car, running a course through Vienna, to experience a virtual trip to Israel with its food, music and film.

He told Ynet that his election “proves that we have succeeded in opening a window into Israel and gotten the Austrian public curious about other subjects related to Israel — art, high-tech, developments and culture, and not just the cliche of the conflict in the Middle East.”

Ashbel reportedly is considering a project that would create a Tel Aviv beach on the banks of the Danube River marking the city’s 100th anniversary.

In online voting, the envoy was selected over a judge from Vienna, the president of the Salzburg Festival, the curator of the Belvedere Museum and the head of Austria’s branch in the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

The candidates, none of whom are involved specifically in public relations, were nominated by press and public relations leaders.

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