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Photo by: GPO / Kobi Gideon
Looking Obama-esque, PM surveys storm management
By HERB KEINON
09/01/2013
Netanyahu radiates sense that he is on top of the situation as storms continue to pummel the country.
 
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 term.

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 heads.

“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 water.”

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 said.

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.
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