'Amazing, Muscular' Netanyahu Criticized for Self-promotion at Carmel Fire Memorial

People close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say repeated expressions of praise he received at the commemoration ceremony for victims of the Carmel fire were embarrassing.

People close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called the wording of the narration at the commemoration ceremony for the victims of the Carmel fire Monday, "a serious mishap." They said Netanyahu said after the ceremony that the wording was not proper and that had he known about it ahead of time he would have formulated it differently.

They also said that the narration, which included repeated expressions of praise for the prime minister, caused embarrassment "which could have been avoided if the professionals responsible for writing the prime minister's speeches would have checked the wording."

Benjamin Netanyahu - Gil Nehushtan - 21122011
Gil Nehushtan

However, people in Netanyahu's inner circle refused to say who had been responsible for the "refurbishing" of the narration, which the Public Security Ministry, in charge of the ceremony, gave to to the Prime Minister's Bureau a few days before the memorial.

Lawmakers sarcastically excoriated the words of praise for Netanyahu, on Tuesday.

Recalling that last night was the first night of Hanukkah, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ), said in the Knesset: "The Maccabean revolt broke out as we recall in the mountains of Benjamin, which are named after our prime minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu."

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor ) also added some acerbic wit. "When I heard the superlatives, praise and exaltation, my ears were opened and my eyes saw the light," he said. "Suddenly I understood that everything I have ever said denigrating the prime minister was complete foolishness."

"I apologize, Mr. Prime Minister. I now know that there is no one like you. You are great, you are amazing, muscular, strong and sensitive ... you grant mercy to thousands; your hair is dark and flowing, you dribble the ball faster than [soccer star Lionel] Messi, you jump higher than [basketball star Michael] Jordan....you envisioned the state, you established the state, you are the sun of the peoples...We love you, our prime minister."

On a more sober note, MK Isaac Herzog (Labor ) demanded that Netanyahu apologize, calling the incident at the ceremony "shameful, tasteless and rude."

"Someone gave an instruction from on high for a plastic and insufferable PR campaign at an event that is full of pain and mourning," he said.