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Photo by Rhonda Spivak


July 31, 2012 Rhonda Spivak

Netanya,Israel- Mitt Romney was at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem for breakfast yesterday morning. I thought about going but there was just one hitch…it cost 50,000 dollars to get in.
Now I have been to the King David Hotel and I will grant you that breakfast there is  good—but really, even for the King David that is a little steep.  How many different kinds of white cheeses of different consistencies could the King David possibly put out to make it worth $50,000 ?  Israeli cucumbers are tasty, but how many possible ways could you cut them up in order to command that price?
Besides, I could have had breakfast at the YMCA right across from the King David Hotel a grand magnificent structure with a bell tower, where it would probably cost about 15 dollars. I could still have seen Romney as he got in and out of the car to the King David.
In addition to the price which made me skip the breakfast, there was also the time factor—breakfast with Romney was called for 8 o’clock and since I would have been coming from outside of Jerusalem chances are that I would have ended up in a morning traffic jam and missed part of breakfast. Although for 50,000 dollars I assume that the King David would have given me as many cups of coffee as I wanted—usually they charge per cup.
I thought of trying to go as press to the breakfast, but the event was closed to the media, (that way it is not as easy to see  who comes to support the Republican nominee).
One thing that I am willing to bet on is that there were a lot of King David Staff that wanted to be serving the breakfast—can you imagine the tips? 15% of 50,000.
One person who didn’t meet with Romney –not only for breakfast but for any meal was PA President Mahmoud Abbas. Romney asked to meet with Salam Fayyad, and snubbed Abbas. I’m not so sure how helpful this will be to Fayyad’s popularity amongst Palestinians. Meeting with Romney in their eyes may only make Fayyad appear to be a US lackey, a sell out or traitor to the Palestinian cause.

Palestinian spokesperson Saeb Erekat didn't like the remarks Romney made pointing out how Israel's economic vitality was more substantial than that of the Palestinian Authority, responding that the occupation is what has stifled the Palestinian economy. But, with respect to Erekat, that can't account for the whole story. One has to ask how many billions in international aid have been given to the Palestinians, and what percentage of those monies has been squandered or stolen?
In his visit to Israel, Romney did refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but that doesn’t mean that if elected he would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, does it?
Leading up to the visit, Romney did give an interview to Yisrael Hayom, which  is the most widely read Israeli daily, probably because it is distributed free. It is owned by gambling billionaire and known Obama opponent Sheldon Adelson. Yisrael Hayom is very supportive of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adelson is also one of the Romney campaign’s largest contributors.
In his Israel Hayom interview Romney clearly criticized the Obama administration:
I would treat Israel like the friend and ally it is. We share not only common interests, but also common values.
“I cannot imagine going to the United Nations, as Obama did, and criticizing Israel in front of the world,” he said. “You don’t criticize your allies in public to achieve the applause of your foes.”
When all is said and done It’s hard to believe that Romney’s stop in Jerusalem will be pivotal in deciding whether he is elected or not. I kind of think that those Americans in Israel who would vote for him would do so with or without the breakfast.  Reports have said that a number of the attendees at the breakfast are coming from the United States and are already contributors to Romney's campaign –so its difficult to know how much of a fundraising success the trip will be from a purely financial view.
The visit was no doubt a photo op for Romney, a chance to look Presidential and come to a country where he knew he would be greeted and treated well.
And of course it does get a few Jews asking why it is that during his Presidency, Obama has never managed to find time to come to Israel—even for a little breakfast ? Obama supporters, however, point out that  no Republican president has visited Israel in their first term (President George W. Bush didn’t visit Israel until the eighth year of his presidency)  The two U.S. presidents who did make an official state visit to Israel during their first term were Presidents Carter and Clinton.

Postscript:  It turns out that the former Massachusetts governor raked in about $1million at the fundraiser breakfast at King David Hotel.
Just imagine how well he would have done had he put on a brunch!

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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