President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel last May was memorable for many reasons, but the one image etched in the minds of most Israelis was that of the baffled president forced into a selfie with Oren Hazan, a member of Knesset whose style makes Trump’s own seem subtle by comparison. Hazan wasted little time waiting for Trump to deplane, ran up the president on the tarmac, whipped out his iPhone, and took the shot heard round Israel.
Yuli Edelstein didn’t like that.
To the staid Speaker of the Knesset, having his errant charges crowd visiting dignitaries for no other purpose than to buff up their social media feeds was disrespectful. And so, when Vice President Mike Pence landed in Jerusalem today, Edelstein changed the rules, barring lawmakers from receiving the distinguished guest at the airport.
Hazan, as could’ve been expected, was livid. “The speaker of the Knesset has totally lost it,” he told the Israeli press. This is megalomaniacal, to arrange a photo shoot only for yourself and keep all the other members of Knesset out, that’s a really dangerous precedent.”
Lest the Vice President feel deprived of the opportunity to meet Israel’s most entrepreneurial legislator, Hazan took to Twitter to greet the esteemed visitor and ensure him that a selfie was still an option.
“Mr. Vice President Mike Penes, my friend,” Hazan wrote, taking as much care with English spelling as he does with Hebrew grammar, “Welcome to our holy land. I would like to apologize I was not able to welcome you at the airport. I’ll be waiting for you in Jerusalem, our eternal capital. I Hope nobody will disturb us with our selfie.” This is what democracy looks like.