Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stole the show at the Israel Independence Day celebration hosted by Consul General Jacob Dayan in Los Angeles.
Twelve national and international television crews, plus another dozen photographers and print reporters jostled for positions Tuesday evening to cover the event, in particular the governor as he received an award recognizing his longtime support of Israel and the nation’s economy.
Schwarzenegger was there to receive the award one day after announcing that he and his wife Maria Shriver had separated after 25 years of marriage.
The split between the Republican body builder/movie action star/politician and the Democratic niece of President John F. Kennedy made world headlines and transformed the annual community event into a media frenzy.
The governor, looking buff, tanned and relaxed at 63, had been invited long ago to receive the award.
Schwarzenegger gave the media what it wanted, prefacing his remarks by thanking the audience and the public for “the tremendous amount of support and love that you have given us in the last 24 hours.
“I just spoke to Maria an hour before I came here …we both love each other very much and are fortunate to have four extraordinary children…and we’re taking it one day at a time,” he said.
With that, the audience of 800 at the Skirball Cultural Center could turn its full attention to Israel’s 63rd anniversary, the other honorees, and the 90-minute multimedia show.