When Sara met Michelle — or didn’t


Seemingly desperate for a new angle on the increasingly popular narrative of estrangement between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama — the two will have their first tete-a-tete today at the White House — Ha’aretz today ran two stories about Michelle Obama’s apparent snub of the Israeli first lady, Sara Netanyahu. Word on the street is Sara wanted a meeting with Michelle, who was due to be in New York today for events at the Met and the American Ballet Theatre. Will she return and allow the Israelis to save face?

Yossi Sarid writes that he expects the meeting will take place, that the president’s Mideast prioroties will prevail on Michelle, who would rather curtail her glamour evening in the Big Apple than be deemed responsible for the failure to achieve peace in the Holy Land. But that doesn’t mean Sarid has any idea what Sara is doing in Washington in the first place.

Why, why does every such visit to Washington have to include a tinge of brazen effrontery and embarrassing pushiness? The prime minister is going for a "working visit," according to the official description; the trip will last all of two days; and it is not exactly clear what Sara will be doing there with him – unless this brief separation is like a living death for Benjamin Netanyahu, or his wife’s good advice is absolutely essential in these exceptionally complex political and diplomatic circumstances.

Meanwhile, Meirav Michaeli has some words of advice for Sara, who has a contentious public persona in Israel. In a word, Get over it.

Don’t be guided by this petty accounting. Don’t run your life based on what they tell you, or what you’re afraid they’ll say about what you do. You are in a position of strength, in the spotlight, which you can use to benefit the many who need you. You are a child psychologist by profession; who knows as well as you how many children need the government’s attention and care? Here you can pitch in and help. I have no doubt that the work you’re doing on an individual basis is praiseworthy. But you have received what Michelle Obama calls "one of the best jobs in the world," because it can be used to help women change their lives.

For the record, as of 10:24 a.m. EST, the American Ballet Theatre was still touting Michelle’s scheduled appearance on its website.

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