Hello, Hillary
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Hebrew media review

Hello, Hillary

The former first lady announces her presidential run, prompting pundits to weigh in on her foreign policies

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 27, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 27, 2012. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

With little news coming out of Israel, the Hebrew newspapers on Monday focus their attention on Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, noting how her foreign policies — particularly toward Israel — would differ from President Obama’s if elected.

The national dailies also spotlight the ongoing coalition talks, the post-Gaza conflict baby boom, and as always, the Iranian nuclear talks.

In Yedioth Ahronoth, columnist Orly Azoulay describes Bill Clinton in glowing terms, calling the ex-president “the world’s greatest campaign manager,” who is “is sometimes also [Hillary’s] greatest enemy.”

“When Bill Clinton shakes someone’s hand, he gives that person the sense that for a one long moment he is the center of his [Clinton’s] world. He knows how to sweep crowds at large gatherings; he is witty, funny, and knows more than anyone about the political power games,” she writes.

That’s why, she notes, Bill has opted for “a backstage role” in this upcoming campaign to avoid taking the attention away from Hillary.

But “Hillary will have a hard time winning without him: she is closed off, he is sociable; he easily charms people, she always seems like she has to try. Now she needs to let him do his job without overshadowing her, or stealing the limelight. She must learn to rein Bill in,” she writes.

The paper quotes Hillary supporter Haim Saban, an Israeli businessman, who says Hillary “is more hawkish than Obama, that’s no secret. On domestic policy, their positions are similar. On foreign policy, I assume there will be some differences.”

The line of thought is echoed in Haaretz.

“In terms of foreign policy, Clinton is expected to take a more hawkish position than Obama, and support greater intervention in global crises,” it notes in its report.

During her term as US secretary, she supported sending more troops to Afghanistan and arming moderate Syrian rebels, it reports. And as a senator, she backed the Iraq War.

“She was one of the figures to lay the foundations of the nuclear talks with Iran, but in an interview with The Atlantic last summer, she said that she is opposed to allowing Tehran any enrichment activity. During Operation Protective Edge, she publicly commented on Israel’s right to defend itself, and cast the responsibility for the fighting on Hamas.”

Haaretz dedicates its editorial to Obama’s meeting with Cuba’s Raul Castro, equating the breaking of the 50-year détente between the two countries with the Iranian nuclear talks and hoping for a similar outcome.

“In fact, two of the idols of the American right, President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, found a partner for practical understandings in Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Obama found such a partner in Raúl Castro, and it looks like he hopes Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is cut from the same cloth (with the consent of his own Fidel — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei). The US president deserves our support and good wishes,” it writes.

Israel Hayom, by contrast, is the only paper not to lead with Hillary’s campaign, focusing instead on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s alternative to the Iran talks, as he outlined on Sunday after facing criticism from Obama. But columnist Boaz Bismuth manages to link the two, appealing to Obama to abandon the nuclear talks for Hillary’s sake.

“Obama will reap the fruits of his labor (compliments from the world and justification for his Nobel Peace Prize), and his successor — who may be Hillary — will inherit his failure of a nuclear Iran,” he writes. “You only need to read the world press to see how much Israel is not the only one skeptical about a deal with Iran… Talk to the French, and see what they think about this whole nuclear Iran story.”

“So — is this the legacy Obama wants to give Hillary? Mr. President, if you didn’t decide to pull out of the nuclear deal for our sakes, won’t you do it at least for Hillary? After all she’s done for you during the last election, she doesn’t deserve it.”

Bismuth adds that Hillary’s election to the presidency is far from certain.

Apart from the US election coverage, the papers focus on the ongoing coalition talks, with Haaretz reporting that the Jewish Home party is seeking veto power for religion and state issues, and Yedioth writing that Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon will receive the finance, environmental, and housing ministries.

Over in Yedioth, the paper has its post-war “baby boom” story, some nine months after the 50-day summer conflict.

“Right now, a week before the first Remembrance Day for the fallen during Operation Protective Edge, more and more women who were impregnated during the operation are arriving at the hospitals nationwide,” it reports. “Among them, are those who conceived while in the shelters and fortified rooms. Others, when their partner was on furlough from IDF service.”

Hospitals are expecting a 10-percent climb in the birth rate this month, as compared to figures from last year, it reports.

“I became pregnant toward the end of the operation, when there were a few ceasefires,” Tchiya Davidovich of Beersheba, a doula by profession, told the paper. “I thought that because of the tension, it would not happen. There is a phenomenon that after a forest fire, more flowers sprout there [than before]. It seems that this happens to people too, after a war and loss of life, suddenly new life sprouts.”

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