Former US president Bill Clinton got a ride home Friday after the funeral of Shimon Peres in Jerusalem aboard Air Force One, the American presidential airplane, with President Barack Obama.
Clinton arrived in Israel Thursday, a day ahead of the funeral, in the private jet of Israeli-American businessman Haim Saban, a staunch supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Bill came to the Knesset on Thursday morning, to pay his respects to former president Shimon Peres, whose body lay in state outside the parliament. On Friday, he and Obama eulogized Peres at his funeral.
Heading home after the funeral ceremonies, Obama can be seen, in a video posted on social media, ascending the staircase to Air Force One at Ben-Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, and waving at the waiting press corps and other officials below from the top of the stairs before entering the plane.
Clinton can be seen speaking on the tarmac alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry and other US officials.
A few moments later, Obama emerges, now without his jacket and with tie loosened, and calls out to Clinton, below: “Bill! Let’s go home!”
As Clinton delayed a bit, shaking hands and making his last farewells, Obama reemerged from the presidential jet, calling out from the entrance to the plane: “Let’s go Bill, I’ll take you home.”
Clinton then sprints up the staircase, patting Obama on the back and entering the plane.
Obama and Clinton warmly eulogized Peres at his state funeral Friday at Mount Herzl cemetery in the capital, praising the late Israeli leader’s efforts and vision for peace.
“He started off life as Israel’s brightest student, became its best teacher, and ended up its biggest dreamer,” Clinton said.
“His critics often claimed he was a naive, overly optimistic dreamer. They were only wrong about the naive part. He knew exactly what he was doing by being overly optimistic,” he said.
Clinton said he was always “in awe” of the way Peres could see a new opportunity every day.
In his tribute, Obama called Peres one of “the giants of the 20th century.”
Screening the video late Friday, Israel’s Channel 2 suggested that Clinton and Obama may have intended to fly home together, but pre-arranged Obama’s public invitation to Bill so at to avoid any claims that the Clinton campaign was benefiting in any way from presidential assistance ahead of the elections. It cited no source for this claim.
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