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June 1998
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Lighter Side:

BIBI'S OTHER PROBLEM

MER - WASHINGTON - 6/16:

Bibi's other problem is a domestic one, a marital one, a personal image one. And it's not his admission of having had an affair back when he was running for his job of Prime Minister. Rather, its the El Al stewardess he married, his third time to the alter incidentally if anyone is wondering.

Sara Netanyahu has abit of a reputation. She's regarded as a kind of smiling but unstable female bull who carries her own china shop around with her. It's widely believed she has done such things as hurl shoes at her domestic help, disrupt high-level government meetings to "consult" with her husband about frivolous matters, and practically "enslave" her former nanny, who is in fact suing her for the same.

Israeli TV fans have watched Sara throw tantrums during interviews -- one time accusing Knesset members of making passes at her and another time denigrating Mrs. Peres as being so poorly educated she just washes the kitchen dishes and plays cards.

All these little problems with Sara kind of came to a head last month when Bibi's trusted spokesman, David Bar-Illan, said the following while being interviewed for the New Yorker Magazine in New York:

"Look Sara is not the most stable woman in the world. Now she only appears at the appropriate things, receptions for children, things for the retarded, or the disadvantaged. And it works. It's O.K. Finally it's become boring to Israelis. Had she run half naked through the streets, it might have been something else, but it's 'under control'."

After survival questions quickly mushroomed, Bar-Illan is still around. True, when Bibi left New York last month after a fairly triumphant visit to the U.S., Bar-Illan was told he wasn't welcome for this trip of Israel's Air Force One. But that point made, Bibi is well aware that Bar-Illan is pretty valuable to him, having a similar ability to his own to twist and distort political reality completely out of focus and without much reference to veracity.

Sara is off to Africa soon, her maiden solo voyage, on a political remake in anticipation of possible new Israeli elections no longer far away in the year 2000.

And what does all this say about Bibi? That's a matter beyond our expertise.

[WP and Haaretz sourcing]


 

 

 

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