Latest update: December 10th, 2013
Some funerals are diplomatic events.
Mrs Thatcher, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan….
These are events which feature on the international diplomatic calendar, even though the dates are not known in advance (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists).
Literally dozens of world leaders attend, and there are opportunities for favorable international PR, as well as behind the scene deals and covert discussions.
Much like a G20 summit meeting, the World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, or a UN General Session in New York.
Nelson Mandela’s funeral today was such an occasion.
90 heads of state were in attendance from every country imaginable. All these people, by definition, have packed schedules of important commitments, and yet they were able to clear their diaries, arrange logistics, and turn up in Jo’berg for the funeral spectacular.
President Peres reportedly had a bout of the flu – which at 90 is nothing to be sneezed at; and Prime Minister Netanyahu had run out of his international funeral budget. There were apparently additional concerns about security – although other world leaders, who probably value their own lives, seemed to deal with that one.
We all know that Mandela was pro-Palestinian – although that really was not the reason the whole world admired his statesmanship and revolutionary achievements in South Africa.
In a moment of fumbling – a motley crew of MK’s was assembled and dispatched from Jerusalem to South Africa, consisting of Yuli Edelstein (Speaker), Pnina Tamnu-Shata (Yesh Atid), Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu) and Hilik Bar (Labor).
Its hard to work out what diplomatic assets could come out of what looked like, to the untrained eye, a national snub.
I guess if the concern really was security, then the clutch of cheerful looking MK’s on a rare international jaunt, must have met the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s criteria of being, in a worst case scenario, dispensable.
About the Author: David Morris has been nominated for the President of Israel's Prize 2010. He is an entrepreneur in the fields of charity and electro-optics; Established Lema'an Achai ("For My Brothers"), the innovative community social services charity in Ramat Bet Shemesh, "Magen", the Bet Shemesh Child Protection Agency, and "Yad LeYedid" (A Hand to a Friend) charity helping impoverished families in Jerusalem. His day-job as Owner/CEO of Scitronix Ltd is marketing sophisticated electro-optical products to high tech industries in Israel. David is the proud dad of six amazing children, and luckiest-husband-in-the-world of Julie Morris.
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