ANALYSIS / The Victors of the Carmel War

The media matters, when there are headlines that replace other headlines.

Like any war, the Carmel War has many losers, but it also has one, two or three winners. Take, for example, Cellcom CEO Amos Shapira, who awoke Thursday morning to headlines declaring his company had suffered the worst cell phone disaster in the country's history, and to columns by mini-experts calculating the extent of compensation due.

Carmel fire bus
Dan Oren.

Alas, several hours later, the two lads from Isfiya sat down for a smoke in the yard, and suddenly not a single person in Israel can tell you who Cellcom's CEO is.

Then there's Major General Uri Bar-Lev, who was stuck in the hot seat up until a week ago, surrounded by rumors ranging from plain old sex to orgies. Now all that has been dropped, replaced by talk about the ill-fated bus, the identities of the victims, how many there were, etc., etc.

Thus slips Major General Bar-Lev, soon to be Major General (res. ) Bar-Lev, back to his family life. The earth is still on fire, but this time it is under someone else's feet.

For a moment it seemed like Interior Minister Eli Yishai had a moment's leave. Yishai, the national voodoo doll, enjoyed a tiny pause in the hateful attacks over his excessive zeal to see families of foreign workers expelled. For a second he thought the Carmel fire would be far removed from the human rights activists, an entire world away, but suddenly he received a call from a journalist to remind him that he is the minister in charge of the firefighters.

Such bad luck! So what does the poor minister do but turn his gaze skyward and ask for help from the Super Tanker?

And we will not forget Yonit Levy, who was a hit on television with her fire-red hair blowing in the hot northerly wind. She reminded everyone thinking about doing away with the Channel 2 News Company that when it's war time, it's Yonit time.

And we will not dismiss the joy of the surprised Big Brother contenders who gained another week off because of the Carmel War, a minute before becoming prisoners of Channel 2.

fire - Alon Ron - December 4 2010
Alon Ron

And when they are rescued by the Red Cross three months later, they may learn that there was another fire - perhaps a war with Iran? - that also made them irrelevant.

This is how it is in Israel: You are in the headlines only if you accept that you will be replaced with another headline, even before anyone has the time to read your headline. Somehow this is a comforting thought.