Seemingly taking a page out of US President Barack Obama’s playbook, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to the Israel Police’s traffic control center
at Beit Dagan on Wednesday, radiating a sense that he was on top of the
situation as storms continued to pummel the country.
When Hurricane Sandy
struck New Jersey and New York in late October, just a week before the US
elections, Obama went to the stricken areas and was seen as concerned,
presidential, and effectively managing the crisis, something that stemmed
Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s momentum and helped Obama win a second
Netanyahu is not facing, in two weeks time, as tough an electoral
challenge as Obama did, and the storm that is currently rocking Israel is not
nearly as powerful as Hurricane Sandy was. Nevertheless, Netanyahu made sure to
go to Beit Dagan and – with cameras whirling – hold a meeting with the police’s
top brass, heads of the rescue and emergency services and representatives from
the Tax Authority, Israel Electric Corporation and local council
“We waited many years for this rain, and I hope it remains for a
blessing, and will not cause fatalities,” he said, calling on the public to act
responsibly and listen to the police’s directives.
Netanyahu thanked the
public for its “patience,” saying they understood that after the traffic jams
subsided, “we will remain with full water reservoirs, and we need this
The prime minister said he convened the meeting both to receive a
briefing on the situation and to thank all those who were working in the
inclement weather in order to ensure that services were provided and that those
in need received assistance.
“The system is working well,” he
Netanyahu said he already directed his office’s director-general to
look into compensation payments for people facing significant damage and
financial loss from the storm.
“A month after Operation Pillar of
Defense, the emergency services are proving again to the home front that there
is someone to rely on,” he said.