Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is once again caught up in public outcry and controversy. This time it's over introductory remarks for the Prime Minister at a memorial ceremony for the victims of last year's wildfire disaster in the Carmel region.
Up until a few days ago, Mr. Netanyahu was not even going to the event, claiming no time in his schedule. Then he apparently changed his mind and announced he would be present at the event organized by the Ministry of Defense.
He may now wish he'd stuck to his original plan…
He has come under fire because his aids edited his introduction that was read out by a popular radio host prior to giving his speech.
The changes in text heaped words of praise upon the Prime Minister, who many in the public hold accountable in part for the deaths and the destruction of large sloths of forest in the hills of the Carmel.
The State Comptroller also found fault with Mr. Netanyahu in his handling of the affair.
But when he was introduced yesterday, one particular sentence did it all. It was;
“He (Netanyahu) who was first to recognize the magnitude of the event and who continuously cares for the families.”
It took about one second after the Carmel ceremony ended, for the media to forgot the families and the tragedy and to begin to jump on Netanyahu.
One major daily compared the megalomaniacal words describing Netanyahu to the kind of language used to describe North Korea's late Kim Jong Il.
The families of the victims say that even if there were matters in which Netanyahu acted correctly, the description of him was tactless, insensitive, and immodest to say at a memorial for the fallen – and the media here is fully behind them.
What must be disappointing to Mr. Netanyahu was the inability of his people to see that such words are viewed as inappropriate for such an occasion, for those who were present and for the country.
Middle East Correspondent