Yes, the The Government Press Office (GPO) got a new chief last September: Oren Helman, a former political adviser to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who most recently worked for a lobbying firm. Whatever, you would say, nothing could possibly be worse than the ex-chief, Danny Seaman. While the appointment of Mr Helman caused some waves in the media, as could be gathered from the linked above JP article, subsequent press on the man was much more positive. I quietly hoped that the whole GPO business could be considered closed and forgotten.
Israel's Government Press Office issued a letter Sunday to foreign journalists, warning them that participating in the upcoming flotilla sailing to Gaza is illegal under Israeli law, and could result in anyone who joins the convoy being barred from Israel for up to 10 years.So, after all the spirit of Danny Seaman is still strong in GPO office, ain't it? Punishing reporters for doing their job is a typical Seaman's act, making GPO and, by extension, Israel, an easy target for "sympathetic" foreign press. Here is an example from The Guardian. Enjoy.
The letter, signed by GPO director Oren Helman, states that the flotilla "is a dangerous provocation that is being organized by western and Islamic extremist elements to aid Hamas."
But, on the other hand, we have a quick reversal of the idea.
The Israeli government has dropped threats to deport foreign journalists and to impose a 10-year ban on those journalists traveling to Gaza on an activist flotilla, said a statement from the prime minister's office Monday.So it very well could be that Oren Helman was made a victim of another trial balloon sent out by Bibi, his chief (GPO reports directly to PM), who is past master of zigging and zagging depending on the press he gets.
No matter who was pulling the ropes, it still stinks to high heaven.