Monday, The New York Times reported that in just a few weeks, Iran will be capable of building nuclear bombs. The Times report, which was largely substantiated by the Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency Muhammad el-Baradei, means that in just a matter of months, Israel is liable to find itself in danger of being wiped off the map.
This grave development was barely noted by the Israeli media. They were busy with other matters.
There was the State Cup soccer championship this week. And that sudden rainstorm in Jerusalem that forced the government to cancel the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the capital's liberation was a very big deal. Then, of course there is the Palestinian onslaught against southern Israel which has turned Sderot into a ghost town.
But the primary reason that the Israeli media are ignoring the rapidly gathering mushroom cloud is because Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is a master politician.
Two weeks after the Winograd Committee's interim report found Olmert responsible for Israel's defeat at the hands of Iran's army in Lebanon last summer, almost no one seems to remember there was a report. Olmert has removed his incompetence from the pubic agenda.
With no support from any quarter of the country, Olmert clings to power through his successful use of the political art of distraction. His response to the public outcry that the Winograd Committee's report unleashed was to change the subject.
Rather than contend with the calls for his resignation, Olmert turned his guns on his deputy, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. After he successfully outmaneuvered his not terribly bright and politically unsavvy colleague, the media completely forgot about the issue of his incompetence to lead and placed their spotlights on Livni's pathetic political implosion.
Last week, Olmert used the Supreme Court-ordered publication of his testimony before the Winograd Committee as an opportunity to attack the panel that he himself appointed. And again, rather than report on the dangers besetting Israel as a result of Olmert's incompetence, the media gave extensive coverage to Olmert's request to reappear before the committee.
In his most recent gambit, this week Olmert turned his guns on State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss. As UN nuclear inspectors discovered Sunday that Iran is currently operating 1,300 centrifuges at its nuclear facility at Natanz, Olmert - the seasoned attorney - had his personal attorneys send a 58-page letter to Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz requesting that he open a criminal probe against Lindenstrauss.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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