Larry King and wife Shawn

King Looks Presidential
As Clinton Plays Backup

Story and Photo by Tim Boxer

arry King is hot as a master of ceremonies. He introduced President Bill Clinton at a dinner for Italians. As Larry stood behind the lectern adorned with the presidential seal, he had a vision of his mother looking down and remarking with much pleasure: “He made it! Not a doctor, but a president!”

At a New York dinner Larry introduced Clinton again. As Clinton is now an ex-president, Larry glowed as the star of the annual dinner of American Friends Rabin Medical Center.

More than 650 attended at the Waldorf-Astoria where Nava Barak, president of the Israel Friends, presented an award to Alan Patricoff, co-founder of Apax Partners.

Among the guests were her husband, Ehud Barak, Kitty Carlisle Hart, jewelry designer Aya Azrielant, Israeli Ambassador to U.S. Daniel Ayalon, and Dr. Dan Oppenheim, ceo of the Rabin hospital in Petach Tikvah.

“I’m here to play backup for Larry King,” Clinton declared.

Larry even had someone introduce him. His younger brother, Martin Zeiger, head of Barr Labs pharmaceutical company, told how Larry used to get in trouble at school. Their mother went to the school almost as often as Larry.

“My brother used to hang out with a bunch of kids who were bums. Not bad boys – sick yes, demented perhaps – but not bad.”

Martin said he and Larry once went to the Embers restaurant in Miami. At the next table was Meyer Lansky.

Larry couldn’t resist asking, “Meyer, did you see Godfather II?”

Martin was terrified. He saw his future in cement shoes.

“Of course I saw it,” Lansky replied. “It was marvelous fiction. They had me murdered at the Miami airport but,” he chuckled, “here I am.”

Larry said he had no idea how famous he’d become till he went to the Western Wall. Next to him was a rabbi davening intently, shaking back and forth. Suddenly he turned and asked, “What’s with Perot?”

Not to be outdone, honorary dinner chairman Mortimer Zuckerman, publisher of the New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, said Barak’s futile efforts to forge a peace with Arafat reminded him of the tourist at the Western Wall who met a rabbi who’d been praying fervently 10 hours a day ever since June 1967.

“What’s it like talking to God every day for 30 years?” he asked.

“It’s like talking to the wall,” the rabbi answered.

Nava Barak praised Clinton as “a true friend who worked tirelessly for peace. I want to say thank you, Mr. President, todah chaver.”

“She ought to run for the Knesset,” Larry announced. “That’s what former first ladies do.”

Clinton was quite hopeful that peace would come. On a recent visit to Rwanda he saw how peace had come to one village where murderers and survivors are living together.

“Barak did not waste his time in seeking peace,” Clinton said. “He was simply ahead of his time. What Arafat did in walking away from Barak’s offer is not the wave of the future. It is the last gasp of an old order.”

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