Advice for 2014: Bibi, Fly Coach

Not everyone enjoyed 2013. Here’s how our leaders could make 2014 better for themselves.

Asher Schechter
Asher Schechter
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Asher Schechter
Asher Schechter

Whew! It took 365 days to get here, but finally the end of 2013 has come. Hopefully, you enjoyed it. For Israel and its neighbors, it was certainly a momentous year; a year that saw business empires crumble and business emperors fall, a military coup in Egypt, and a thaw between the U.S. and Iran. Not to mention a first woman appointed governor of the Bank of Israel and a former TV host as finance minister.

So not everyone enjoyed 2013, but a new year is a chance for a fresh start. But a fresh start is meaningless if you just end up repeating old habits. So in order to help those who clearly need assistance helping themselves, here are some tips for 2014.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Fly coach

After a year marked by scandals in which the prime minister's taste for opulence got him into trouble again and again, Netanyahu might want to tone it down a notch.

That means no more water bills of $25,000. No more $1,700 for scented candles. No more spending $2,700 on ice cream. And certainly, and we can’t stress this enough, no luxury trips to China and no more spending $140,000 for king-size beds on 4-hour flights to London.

In 2014 Netanyahu could redeem himself and shed his decadent image. Or he could continue to live like a Roman emperor and see where that gets him.

Sara Netanyahu: Hire a (better) stylist

2013 was not Sara Netanyahu’s year. With her and her husband’s spending habits scrutinized in the media day and night, many a newspaper treated Israel’s first lady as a veritable Marie Antoinette. Not that she did anything to contradict her image.

And then she had to wear that practically translucent black dress to the Knesset's inauguration. On the one hand, it’s shallow - not to mention sexist - to critique a woman over her clothes. On the other hand, Mrs. Netanyahu, a big fan of leopard prints, could avoid the scorn thrown her way if she would just, please, for the love of the Lord, get herself a better stylist. But you know what they say: money can’t buy taste.

Yair Lapid: Deactivate your Facebook account.

Dear Yair, consider this an intervention: you are now closing your first year as finance minister, during which you managed to aggravate just about everyone with your cynicism and condescension. And although you haven’t exactly been much of a finance minister, we all know the real reason your approval rate keeps falling: your inability to properly manage your Facebook account.

Think back and you’ll see we’re right: practically every scandal, every controversy - or most of them - over the past year originated with a lame Facebook post. You make factual errors, you bicker and rant, you mock users who correct you - in politics they are known as “voters”, by the way - and you block users who challenge you. You get into flamewars like a 13-year old.

Have you ever thought if you just cut down on your interaction with the public, you might win some favor? Or is the need to flame stronger than you? Anyway, our advice for 2014: Deactivate your Facebook account. It will do wonders for your approval rate. Guaranteed.

Nochi Dankner: Find affordable housing

Nochi Dankner had been the most powerful, most feared, most politically-connected businessman in Israel. Until the last week of 2013, that is. Now he's essentially bankrupt and is losing control over Israel's biggest business group, IDB. Old friends are distancing themselves. Banks are starting to knock on his door.

To help with your financial difficulties, here is our advice for Nochi Dankner: find a clean, reliable roommate and look for an affordable apartment. It's hard in today's Israel, where housing prices have been going through the roof for years. A two-salary household may well not be able to afford a home. Then again, seeing as it seems you might be indicted for stock manipulation, maybe finding a home really doesn’t matter.

Iran: keep doing what you’re doing. Great work!

Dear Iran: really, we have no advice for you. Clearly, you guys know what you’re doing. Within a year you’ve managed to alter your image and make Israel look like the crazy one. Your covert Nuclear Happiness program and “Charm Offensive” took the Israeli leadership by surprise. You’ve shot no one, dropped the frowns and look how far you’ve come.

So our advice for you for 2014 is to just keep doing what you’re doing. Weaponize smiles, upgrade your arsenal of positive expressions. Enrich the bejesus out of your handshakes. If 2013 has taught us anything, is that Israel knows exactly how to react to any military threat - but a smile? Man, that stuff just knocks us down.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Credit: Kobi Gideon
ran's President Hassan Rohani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013.
Sara Netanyahu in that dress, in Knesset.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid has been using his Facebook page to air his views on a myriad issue.
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ran's President Hassan Rohani laughs as he speaks during an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society in New York, September 26, 2013. Credit: Reuters
1 of 4 |
Sara Netanyahu in that dress, in Knesset.Credit: Emil Salman
2 of 4 |
Finance Minister Yair Lapid has been using his Facebook page to air his views on a myriad issue.Credit: Eran Wolkowsky
Advice for 2014

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