Israeli people are known for their sauciness and their “spunk”. They have the boldness to strive for success and to invent breakthrough enterprises. A good example for this would be the large amout of Israeli entrepreneurs, especially in the high-tech domain. And an even better example would be the state of Israel itself! I mean, it took major spunk for the first Jewish immigrants to disobey the Turkish and British authorities in Palestine, and to claim their place in the world. Whenever they were told “No”, they did not waver, and came up with saucy ideas such as the “Tower and stockade” operations.
Yesterday we saw a good example of that spunk on TV. As a prelude to his second visit of Israel (which began today), gave George W. Bush an exclusive interview to Israel’s Channel 10 News, conducted by front anchormen Yaakov Eilon and Gil Tamari. They sat down for an open, apparently unscripted, conversation with the US President. He seemed amused by their questions and attitude, and they came across as naughty kids who enjoy pushing the envelope ever more.
Watch a short clip of the interview: Mr. Bush on the Olmert Allegations
You could see them inquiring the president about his vision for the middle east, asking for his opinion as regards to the corruption allegations againt Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, and greeting him on his daughter’s wedding. At one point, they began speculating about a possible Iran attack, and albeit Mr. Bush said he doesn’t like to talk hypothetically, they continued to press the issue. Later, they teased the president about his relative lack of involvement in the middle east, saying it took him 7 years to actually “get started”, and asking whether the next president should start earlier. Yes, it actually happened, and I must say that admired the president’s way of handling the cross-fire. He remained calm, even laughed a bit, and then gave straight and frank answers about what he think that could and couldn’t be achieved by the end of his candidacy.
Finally, these two cheeky anchormen directly appealed Mr. Bush to release Jonathan Pollard — the Israeli spy held prison in the States since 1987 — as a goodwill gesture in accordance with Israel’s 60th birthday. He simply said that his policy on the matter hasn’t changed, and even agreed to reveal that he continually receives such official requests from the Israeli government; a piece of information the Israeli public would find very satisfying.
Maybe it’s the freshness of Channel 10 attitude, or perhaps it’s the lax behavior of a president who’s about to leave office — in any case, this rare interview was a pleasure to watch.