By Alex Brummer
Bicom generously hosted an Israeli election night part at the Milbank Tower in Central London attended by His Excellency the Israel Ambassador Daniel Taub and a number of MPs.
Guests were provided with fact sheets on all the parties competing and voting cards for a mock election.
There were regular updates from the Israeli exit polls, panel discussion involving Israeli journalists and cocktails to go along with the falafel and smoked salmon canapes.
The event was hosted by Bicom chair Edward Mizrachi and compared by chief executive Dermot Kehoe. Guests from the Board including the President Vivian Wineman, and vice-presidents Alex Brummer and Jonathan Arkush. For much of the evening it looked to everyone, except a smiling Bibi Netanyahu on the television screens, as if was going to be a dead heat.
Clearly, however, the Israeli Prime Minister who staged a feisty campaign – including a headline catching visit to the US Congress – recognised that in the end security concerns would outweigh domestic issues.
The panel discussion reflected the concerns of many Israelis about the “cottage cheese” problems of food prices, social inequality and a runaway house prices – a subject very familiar to Londoners seeking to climb the social ladder. Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog clearly made headway on these issues that are likely to feature in Israel’s public discourse in the weeks and months ahead.
The MPs who spoke reflected on the strength of Israeli democratic traditions in region where genuine freely fought elections are very much a rarity.
Alex Brummer is Board vice president