World

Israel to pay students to defend it online

JERUSALEM — Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.

The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel online. It said students’ messages would parallel statements by government officials.

‘‘This is a groundbreaking project aimed at strengthening Israeli national diplomacy and adapting it to changes in information consumption,’’ the statement said.

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An Israeli official said Wednesday that scholarship recipients would be free to decide whether or not to identify themselves as part of the program, which would begin within months.