American Politicians Talk About '3 a.m. Phone Calls,' but Israeli Leaders Actually Receive Them.
In 2008, Hillary Clinton established the standard of readiness for American presidents with her famous 2008 "3 a.m. phone call" advertisement. In the TV ad, children are sleeping peacefully while an off-screen voice says, "Something is happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call." Hillary was unsuccessful in that race, losing to Barack Obama, but the ad hit a nerve, and the American people now look to this standard in looking for a leader. Yet despite the interest in presidential wake-ups, the truth is that they do not happen that often. Obama told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he had only been awakened three or four times over the course of his presidency, and never in the face of any kind of existential threat.
But while the 3 a.m. call may be a bit of a myth in America, the late-night wake-up is a recurring reality for Israeli prime ministers. Unsurprisingly, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, was the first to experience a prime ministerial wake-up call, which came before he was even officially prime minister. Ben-Gurion was awakened at 1 a.m. on May 15, 1948he became prime minister on the 17thto be told that U.S. President Harry Truman had recognized the fledgling State of Israel. Ben-Gurion was then disturbed at 4 a.m., without having fallen asleep in the interim, to be brought to speak over the radio for an American audience at what is now Tel Aviv's Independence Park. While he was in the midst of speaking, Tel Aviv was attacked, a point Ben-Gurion made sure to include in his broadcast. The War of Independence had begun. Ben-Gurion recalled seeing that "[p]eople in pajamas and nightgowns glanced out of every housebut they didn't seem unduly frightened." Israelis were already displaying their characteristic nonchalance in the face of danger.
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|Date:||Jan 24, 2017|
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