samedi, juin 04, 2005

Labor (Housing Minister) puts out the fires set by Likud (Finance Minister)

Harvard graduate Bibi Netanyahu sets fire to himself... only to be informed by a reporter that he was on fire. (This reminds us of the joke that you can tell a Harvard grad some, but not much. See below for more details.) Anyway, point is that Israeli Finance Minister Netanyahu of the Likkud party had a small accident on May 29, 2005, in which according to most accounts he hastily tucked a cigar in his pocket when approached by reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. When a reporter noticed that his jacket was smoking, Labor Party Housing Minister Yitzhak Hertzog took Netanyahu's jacket and stamped out the fire.

Oddly, Israel's Environmental Minister in a purportedly unconnected move requested that law banning and controlling smoking be tightened. (I wonder where he got that idea...?) (Sadly, the 70-80% destruction of the Ein Gedi Froest Preserve is probably the motinvating reason for this call. That destruction is a real tragedy.)

more on it if youre interested...
Bibi on fire

Finance minister shoves lit cigar into jacket pocket while answering reporters' questions
By Diana Bahur-Nir

JERUSALEM - Too hot to handle: Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a little unexpected mishap on Sunday when he shoved a lit cigar into his jacket pocket, which subsequently caught fire.

Fortunately for Bibi, the cigar was safely extinguished and Netanyahu survived the ordeal unharmed.

Notably, the finance minister, who is an avid cigar smoker, does not like to be seen in public with a cigar in his mouth.

As he approached journalists waiting for him to answer questions following the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu hurriedly shoved his cigar in his jacket pocket.

However, the lit cigar caught fire at the exact moment Netanyahu attempted to explain his reasons for opposing the release of 400 Palestinian prisoners earlier Sunday.

Kol Israel radio reporter Shmuel Tal was the first to notice the smoke rising from Netanyahu's pocket and wondered “what’s this smell?” is anyone burning here?”

At that point, the finance minister spotted the danger and pulled out the cigar from his pocket. Housing Minister Isaac Herzog promptly came to his colleague’s aid and put out the fire with his shoe.

Netanyahu’s big rival, Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, happened to pass by at the time of the incident and was overheard saying “I hope the finance minister is not on fire.”

'Knows how to operate under fire'

The reporters could not control themselves and burst out in laughter at the unusual sight. Once they were able to clam down, Netanyahu proceeded to explain his motive for opposing the latest goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

"The Palestinians failed to act against those terror groups,” he said. “Therefore, I see no reason to reward Hamas while the army chief and others warn about the Hamas getting stronger,” he said.

However, despite Bib's objection and a burning jacket pocket, the government voted in favor of the release, by an 18 to 3 margin.

Netanyahu's media advisor Ofir Akonis said the minister was not injured in the incident and that his jacket was not ruined.

"This just proves the finance minister knows how to operate under fire," he said.
a slighlty contrasting view
The British don't get any staories about Israel wuite right of course, so they difference in the two story situations is notable and unfortunate.

This cat reporter signing off in mirthful glee.