After Trump selfie, ministers banned from greeting ceremonies

PM orders handshakes with cabinet ministers cut from formal greeting ceremony for foreign leaders after MK sneaks in selfie with Trump.

David Rosenberg,

Oren Hazan with Donald Trump
Oren Hazan with Donald Trump
Oren Hazan

One MKs desire for the selfie of a life-time may lead to a major retooling of how the Israeli government welcomes foreign dignitaries.

On Monday, MK Oren Hazan (Likud) drew the ire of senior Israeli leaders when he cut across from the back row of a line of coalition members greeting President Trump at Ben Gurion Airport, and snuck in a quick selfie with the president.

While the president appeared unfazed by the sudden departure from diplomatic decorum, the incident outraged Israeli officials who called the incident “a scandal”.

“Whoever did not cringe the moment that he saw this on television, needs to do some soul-searching about whether he still loves this state and honors it,” said Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein.

“It was a scandal what happened there,” he added. “You don’t behave like this at an official welcoming ceremony, and it’s not related to the fact that ‘we’re different and everything’s cool here.’”

Since Monday’s infamous selfie, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered Foreign Ministry Director-General Yoval Rotem to have the traditional presentation of the government cabinet to foreign leaders dropped from the welcoming ceremony for state visits, Maariv has reported.

Nor is distancing coalition members from foreign leaders the only change proposed after President Trump’s two-day visit this week.

Edelstein revealed Thursday that while President Trump had initially weighed addressing the Knesset during his visit, the idea was ultimately scrapped and replaced with a speech at the Israel Museum.

The reason, Edelstein added, was the fear that the president could be interrupted by MKs during his speech, with Knesset protocol limiting the ability of the Knesset chairman to quickly remove disruptive individuals.

In light of this, a Knesset committee is slated to debate next week a proposal which would drop the requirement for three MKs to call for the removal of a peer if that individual is disrupting the speech of a guest to the Knesset.




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