We've said this all along

By Uri Dromi, December 2, 2010

This week's WikiLeaks scandal brought back memories from 1993, when Chris Walker, then the Israel correspondent of The Times, came to see me at the Government Press Office. He was interested in my opinion on the big manoeuvre which the Israeli Air Force (IAF) was carrying out in the Negev.

"Preparing for Iran", he suggested, fishing for a scoop. I gave him the official answer, which also happened to be the truth: "The IAF is preparing for any contingency", to which he gave me the "C'mon" wink. I insisted that Iran posed a threat not only to Israel but to the whole world, and that the international community, led by the United States, should take care of this problem before it blew up in their face.

Then Prime Minister Rabin made a state visit to Egypt, and I went with the advance team to prepare the media arrangements. Our press attaché in Cairo took me to a restaurant. He whispered that at an adjacent table sat a leading intellectual who hated Israelis. I confronted him. "Why do you hate us? We are not your enemies any more."

The man surprised me. With a smile he answered: "You Israelis think you are the centre of the world. It's not about you. Our real enemy is Iran."

So some of us didn't have to wait till this week's revelations by WikiLeaks to know that. The only good news this week is that maybe in the future, people will take Israeli assessments and warnings more seriously. But I'm not holding my breath.

Uri Dromi was director of the Israel Government Press Office, 1992-96.

Last updated: 4:58pm, December 2 2010