A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 21, 2010 Israel and Haiti, Israel and Obama, and the Rain Came
It was another unusual week in Israel, where the news in the country was unusually occupied with events outside the country. Haiti continued to get much of the coverage, focusing, of course, a great deal on the Israeli mission there. Israel is expected to spend approximately $25 million dollars on aid to Haiti. To put that into perspective: China has so far committed $5 million for the efforts.
The good news from Israel was the rain. It came in large amounts and fell all over Israel from North to South. The South had record rainfalls, while in the North, the rain was strong enough for the streams (nachals) to overflow and pour water into the Kinneret. In a situation that can only happen in Israel, the workers of the water authority (the ones who are responsible for measuring the Kinneret) are on strike. As a result, all of Israel continues to wonder how much the Kinneret (Lake of Galilee) has risen.
Israeli media has widely covered the Democratic political set-back, with their recent loss in Massachusetts. The sense is that events in the US have justified the view of many Israeli officials not to take the potential pressure from the US very seriously. Obama’s recent interview with Time magazine, where it is said he has "failed in the Middle East", claiming that it is the fault of both the Palestinians and the Israelis: the Palestinian for not being flexible; and the Israelis for not making far reaching enough concessions for changing the dynamics. The Palestinians, of course, complain President Obama was the one who sent President Abbas up a tree without a ladder to get down. Netanyahu can, of course, claim he has made far reaching concessions (from his standpoint.)
Israeli TV did cover an odd story today, on the 17 year old religious student who put on Tefillin on a plane flight today. This action frightened a passenger, who claimed it was a bomb and caused the pilot to make an emergency landing.
In Israeli domestic news, all eyes seem to be directed at a lawsuit filed by Sara Netanyahu's former housekeeper, claiming she was abused by Mrs. Netanyahu. The issue would not be of any interest, except for the rumors that this pattern of behavior has been repeated many times and not only on the personal plane, but in the political realms as well.
A final comment for today is the problematic state of American actions against Iran. For all of the President's diplomacy-- it seems to have hit a wall when it comes to China. China seems uninterested in going ahead with sanctions, and the Iranians probably know it. But that will be a subject of a longer piece, at a later date.