Barak's backdrop: Bored children, not rustling waves

Kibbutz Sdot Yams's administration wanted Labor leadership candidate Ehud Barak's Tuesday press conference to take place near the beach, with the sea in the background. When Barak's aides said the sun would cause problems for the television cameras, the kibbutzniks organized a site with a backdrop of flags and flowers. But Barak's aides insisted on an improvised setting on the lawn near the entrance to the Kibbutz cafeteria, with a backdrop of lonely rocks and a parking lot. Children aged seven to 13 gathered behind Barak's table, made faces at the cameras and ate ice cream as he delivered his speech. Half way through the event, a brown dog wandered in, sniffing out the area between Barak's table and the front row of chairs, as journalists vied for the right to ask the next question. The dog walked around and, not finding anything of interest, nonchalantly went to play with kids. After the press conference ended, the children swarmed Barak, who signed autographs for his young fans and posed for pictures with them while avoiding the less friendly members of the press.