Haim Saban, US-based Israeli businessman and good friend of Hillary Rodham Clinton, on Sunday offered an inside story underlining what he called the would-be US president’s exemplary calm in a crisis, and thus her suitability for the job of commander-in-chief.
Interviewed from California on Israel’s Channel 10 news, Saban, a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party, recounted the day when he gave Clinton a ride in his private plane from Los Angeles to New York (he didn’t specify the date).
Five minutes after takeoff, the flight attendant told Saban that the pilots needed to speak to him in the cockpit. He went to the front of the plane, and they told him, “We’ve lost an engine. We’ll have to make an emergency landing.”
Nervous and stammering, he went back to give Mrs. Clinton the news, and found her reading a book.
“She said, ‘What’s up?'” Saban recounted.
He gulped and told her: “I said, ‘We’ve lost an engine. We’re going to make an emergency landing.'”
Clinton looked up at him, said, “Oh,” and went back to her book, he said.
The plane landed safely, and Saban said he then went over to Clinton and asked her, “Weren’t you worried?”
By way of answer, Saban recalled, she told him that she was “in a suspenseful part of the book.”
The incident, claimed Saban, sums op Clinton: “That’s her. She’s got self-control. She’s got guts.”
Saban, who also funds the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington DC, called Clinton a staunch friend of Israel. He said she shares Israel’s goal of preventing a nuclear Iran, even if she disagrees with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the tactics. “They’ll get along fine,” he asserted.