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Obama: “No Plans For Releasing Jonathan Pollard”

And other hits from his interview with Israeli television

Adam Chandler
March 14, 2013
President Barack Obama speaking on March 13, 2013. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaking on March 13, 2013. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama’s much ballyhooed interview with Israel’s Channel Two came and went with a few insights into Obama’s thinking ahead of his trip. It was his first interview with Israeli television since 2010.

Here were some of the highlights from the interviewed, which aired in Israel today and was filmed at the White House:

• President Obama told his interviewer he believes that it would take Iran over a year to build a nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, the President has been “crystal clear” about Iran.

• He has no immediate plans to release convicted American spy Jonathan Pollard.

• President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have a “terrific, businesslike” relationship.

• The President plans to “listen” about the Palestinian issue during his trip.

This may be the money quote though. When asked what he’d like to do in Israel:

“I’d love to sit at a cafe and just hang out,” he says. “Sometimes I have this fantasy that I can put on a disguise and wear a fake mustache” and wander into Tel Aviv, go to a university and speak to some students, “in a setting that wasn’t so formal.”

The cafe flaneur demographic in Israel is like 70% of the population. Nail hit on it.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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