Israel’s media on Friday splashed their front pages with pictures of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu literally drawing a red line for Iran on a bomb diagram at the United Nations General Assembly.
But while some commentators took jabs at the cartoonish visual aid, they said Netanyahu had scored a major PR coup, winning global headlines while setting a deadline that could help ease tense relations with the White House.
In a piece entitled “Bibi Boom,” Nahum Barnea of the Yediot Aharonot newspaper said Netanyahu “went back to basics, to the comic book drawings of his childhood.”
“He did well, because despite all the mocking of various individuals of little faith, the images of the Israeli prime minister and the bomb will be broadcast in every new edition around the world,” Barnea wrote.
Yossi Verter, in the left-leaning Haaretz daily referred to the visual aid as “a cute drawing of a bomb with a fuse, that looked like it was copied from an American comic book or from a Walt Disney cartoon.”
But he pointed out that the simplistic presentation would resonate with “people who don't have the patience for long words or in-depth discussions of centrifuges and enriched uranium and detonators.”
“He did what he does best: He took a complex, amorphous topic and made it simpler, more tangible, more easily absorbed and understood.”
Ofer Shelah, writing in the Maariv daily, acknowledged the stunt “succeeded in taking the cameras by storm.”
“But one does not eliminate an Iranian nuclear threat by gimmicks and speeches,” he warned.
“One does so by joint efforts, in intimate consultations with the administration in Washington and the U.S. president... whom Netanyahu would like so badly to see in November shedding tears and conceding defeat.”
Netanyahu has publicly aired his differences with the administration of President Barack Obama over Iran’s nuclear program, criticizing Washington for failing to set its own “red lines” that would trigger military action against Tehran.
He had been coy about whether Israel would take unilateral military action against Iran -- which Washington opposes -- before the upcoming presidential elections.
But his speech before the General Assembly on Thursday, and comments made by officials close to him before the address, sounded a more conciliatory note to the United States, emphasizing common ground.
And commentators noted that Netanyahu effectively ruled out any Israeli attack on Iran before the Nov. 6 U.S. presidential vote.
“Netanyahu successfully completed his mission,” Ben Caspit wrote in Maariv.
“He broadcast his message, he explained the issue, he provided an academic-scientific speech... he even used a cute graphic for illustration.”
“And he managed to do all this without further the crisis with the United States and without raising the flames on the so-very sensitive relationship with the American administration.”