Will Michelle Obama agree to meet Sara Netanyahu after all?
Netanyahu reportedly requested the meeting, which may conflict with Obama's prior engagements.
A person feels some discomfort when once again discussing Sara Netanyahu and her trips abroad with her husband. The weight of political correctness threatens to spoil the prose: So many have tormented Sara, and we are not of their ilk.
Nevertheless, it is difficult to avoid the question: 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.
If a prime minister's wife is already taking the trouble to travel so far, this creates a kind of expectation that the president's wife will compensate her for her efforts by granting her at least a brief meeting, if not a luncheon. On the other hand, Michelle Obama is evidently an independent woman; she is not inseparable from her presidential husband, and she has her own agenda: She is traveling to New York to inaugurate a new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to be the guest of honor at the American Ballet Theatre's gala ball.
And now, insult is crouching like a dog at the door of the president's official guest residence, Blair House, and its shadow is liable to darken the entire visit. And the tension will accompany us until it is all over, tomorrow: Will the two women meet or not? Maariv reported that Sara requested a meeting with Michelle, virtually inviting a slap in the face - which, as Israelis, we will under no circumstances accept.
If I had to bet, I would venture to guess that the meeting will nevertheless take place. Michelle will agree to return from New York, and even to give up on the ballet, because a little goodwill on her part would contribute to the final joint statement on the negotiations over the West Bank and the Syrian heights. Bad manners at the White House could harden the Israeli position, which would be an unnecessary and truly pointless pity. It would be better for Michelle to allocate her time wisely and responsibly - to distinguish between the important and the trivial, between her duties in Washington and her pleasures in New York.
There is no doubt that while these lines are being written, influential parties are still trying to prevent the mishap: Efforts are still being made behind the scenes to save the visit at the last minute.