Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Year's Snow

There is a phrase in Hebrew which means to convey the sheer absence of interest in some old piece of information. It is "sheleg de-eshtakad", which means, literally, last year's snow.

No news is more boring or less newsworthy than last year's snow.

Commentary's Noah Pollak is rightly amused by the operatic affectation of the Agence France Presse story in which the news agency melodramatically announces:

"La ministre des Affaires étrangères israélienne Tzipi Livni, candidate à la succession d'Ehud Olmert au poste de premier ministre, a reconnu aujourd'hui publiquement avoir été un agent du Mossad, le service de renseignements israéliens."

"Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a contender to replace Ehud Olmert as prime minister, publicly acknowledged on Tuesday she had been an agent for the Mossad spy agency. "

Oopsy. That scoop was already old news when the New York Times published a sprawling cover story about Israel's Candle-in chief in July 8, 2007!

"In the army, Livni excelled, and at training school she was twice elected most-outstanding officer. Gal took part in the same training; she observed a toughness that impressed everyone. This, combined with impeccable nationalist credentials, made Livni an ideal candidate for the Mossad, which she joined in 1980 at the age of 22. “I brought her to Mossad,” Gal says. “She was very good at everything she did and only left by her own choice. She could have had a 20-year career there too. The smartness, the coolness, the speed of analysis, the straightness — these are prized qualities in Mossad.”

Livni will acknowledge only that she served in Paris. Did the Mossad experience influence her? “No, no, no,” she said, laughing uneasily. Nothing? Nothing, she insisted.

Her brother once visited her in the French capital and found her enrolled as a student in the Sorbonne, behaving in the strangest ways. “I came all the way from Lagos, where I was working in construction, and stayed for two days, and I think I saw her for one hour,” he recalls. “She would get these phone calls and say, I have to go, I have to go, and she’d rush off, and so in the end I said, O.K, I’m out of here.”

Livni wanted a more normal life. She left Mossad in 1984 and settled down in Israel. "

Yours truly, not always on the cutting edge of breaking sensational news, wrote about it here last June.

So what gives?

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