Global, Israel

Bush Costing Israel $25,000 an Hour

Well more than a week before his visit, Bush was creating waves in the Holy City. Main streets near my home have been sporting American flags alternating with Israeli and Jerusalem city flags. For the last two days, we’ve all been startled by huge transport helicopters flying very low over the city in formations of threes, making a racket and causing a bit of panic in the uninformed. (Word on the street is that they’re practicing for Bush’s arrival.) Two days ago I had to take a crazy jigsaw puzzle of a cab ride because there were a bunch of streets that were already closed. Fine, whatever, not a huge deal. Then I read this about Bush’s visit in today’s Ha’aretz:

The operation, dubbed “Clear Skies,” will cost Israel $25,000 for every hour Bush is in the country.

That feels unconscionable. This country kept its high school students out of school for two months because it balked at paying teachers a living wage, still refuses to pay its university teachers a decent wage, hasn’t yet fully made good on its financial and other promises to evacuees from Gaza, and continues to let its poor, its elderly, and its Holocaust survivors languish without proper financial and medical assistance. And somehow there’s enough money to spend $25,000 an hour on George Bush.
On the bright side, it seems that Bush’s visit may have at least temporarily delayed Israel’s moving its West Bank police headquarters into the currently empty and deeply controversial E1 area, a move that would effectively put an end to the possibility of territorial contiguity for the Palestinians.
Bush’s visit story here, and a video here. (Best line in the video comes from a chef at the King David hotel where Bush is staying: “You want to show up and do your best, but the man likes hambugers, what can you do?“)

15 thoughts on “Bush Costing Israel $25,000 an Hour

  1. Perhaps this operation is named after Bush’s equally inappropriately named Clear Skies Act.
    Bush has been referred to as “Shit Midas” – everything he touches turns to shit, and this is no exception. Arbusto Energy, the Texas Rangers, the US’s international standing, the Constitution, the US economy, FEMA, New Orleans, Iraq, and now the holy city of Jerusalem and its transportation network.

  2. You think it would be better if Israel didn’t secure Bush’s arrival? Look, I understand Israel needs to pay teachers a better wage (what they have now is generally a living wage, but I believe that teachers should be one of the best paid professions you can get), but the price that would be paid by a lack of security with George Bush’s visit to Israel is impossible to calculate. Call the security measures an insurance. Imagine what chaos would erupt should, god forbid, something happen during his meetings in Israel. I’m happy the security is good, and I wish it didn’t affect me personally (I live about a block away from the hotel he’s staying at in Jerusalem, and I have to carry my lease and passport with me to enter the security blanket and get to my apartment), but I want that security there.

  3. The real cost is much higher (excluding the cost of anguish and conscience). The ENTIRE KD Hotel has been rented out.The cost is shared by the Americans and by the Israelis. Extra rooms (basic) at the David’s Citadel are charged to them at $550/day. In all this visit will use close to 1,000 rooms. MANY businesses are closed today and those workers that earn by the hour will lose income.
    People will sit for hours in traffic – cost? Who knows?
    People who will be unable to make it for doctor’s visits will pay (physically).
    This is a mess all for the glory of Bush and for Olmert.
    But how can we put a price on the work of bringing a true and lasting peace to the Middle East? 🙂

  4. How many billions of dollars of does the US send to Israel for security programs each year? Begrudging Bush a few hundred thou for helicopters and whatnot seems a bit, well, cheap.

  5. BZ where will you let out your frustration when this guy is out of office . . . let it go.
    Reader is right. What is $25k an hour – nothing! The US for better or worse gives billions of dollars annually to Israel. To bitch about a few million bucks for an official visit is to have nothing to bitch about.
    Israel has a very corrupt government (i.e. head of Israel’s tax department, Ariel Sharon & sons under investigation, Olmert under investigation, sex scandals and expensive investigations)
    I guarantee, the millions of tax payers dollars being stolen or wasted on an ongoing basis far out spends this visit totalling $1.2 mil.

  6. John Edwards spends more on a haircut.
    More than 10x this tab was contributed to Gazan Palestinians by US Jews for the Hot Houses. Destroyed on day one.

  7. Totally agree with Reader. The US just gave Israel a $30 billion military aid package. How could Israel not host the President in a way that guarantees security?

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