Wednesday night saw the Victorian Jewish community toast the 56th anniversary of the State of Israel in fine form at the Hyatt Hotel in the Pari... sorry, Tel Aviv end of Collins Street. Whilst the timing was a little perplexing, three weeks after the actual anniversary, the event was well received. The cocktail-sippers consisted of Jewish community leaders, MPs, political hangers-on (which, for tonight, included Ari-on-the-web) various VIPs, and few heavy hitters.
It was unusual to see the perfomances by the two major guests of honour - Steve Bracks, and his opposite number Robert Doyle. Bracks was first up, and seemed to be going through the motions. His speech was heavily detailed and cumbersome and lacked a spark of wit or sponteniety, or even sincerity. He seemed forever on edge, worried about slipping up or uttering something to upset the assembled crowd. Without making excuses, crooked cops rather than Kosher canapes were likely to be on the Prem's mind, but someone in his position should be able to chew Bazooka and walk at the same time. The theory that Bracks is not on top of his brief is growing. As for Doyle, he used his brief time at the podium to tell a few heartfelt stories reflecting his sympathy for Israel and his understanding of the daily plight of terror that ordinary Israelis feel. With less preparation but more sincerity, the Midget for Malvern seemed to hit the mark.