On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to be a pandemic. In decision-making during health crises, individuals must trust the information they receive from the government. Because Israel was in the midst of a deep constitutional crisis, the challenges it faced in managing the COVID-19 crisis differed from those experienced by other countries. The spread of COVID-19 endangered public health, undermined economic and social resilience, challenged effective governance, and even provided cover for processes that could potentially harm democratic values. The aim of this chapter is to analyse Israeli policy-makers’ health and risk communication efforts during the COVID-19 first wave and the early stages of the second wave. The chapter first describes the COVID-19 narrative in Israel and discusses the different strategies used by the Israeli government to communicate the health guidelines to the public, among them fear appeals, use of military-style language, and mixed messages. It then discusses public trust in times of pandemics and draws conclusions about the Israeli government’s health and risk communication efforts, before making recommendations for building and strengthening trust between the government and the public in future pandemics.
- Health and risk communication
- Crisis management
- Fear appeals
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Gesser-Edelsburg, A. (2021). Analysis of the Government of Israel’s COVID-19 Health and Risk Communication Efforts: Between a Political-Constitutional Crisis and a Health Crisis. In: Lewis, M., Govender, E., Holland, K. (eds) Communicating COVID-19. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79735-5_11
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