Herzog’s office on chat with Tunisian PM: Just introducing himself ‘as manners dictate’

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

After footage of President Isaac Herzog chatting amicably with Tunisia’s Prime Minister Najla Bouden during the world leaders’ photograph at the COP27 in Egypt made the rounds on social media yesterday, Herzog’s office issues a clarification.

“The president turned to the leaders standing next to him and introduced himself, as manners dictate,” the President’s Residence says.

“As for the prime minister of Tunisia and prime minister of Lebanon, who were standing nearby, when the leaders introduced themselves to each other, it was understood among them that they could not speak,” the statement continues. “That was the entire conversation between the three leaders.”

The short clip shows Herzog turning around to exchange pleasantries with Bouden, who was standing a row behind him.

Though both countries opened official “interest sections” – a de facto consulate – in the 1990s, ties were severed with the outbreak of the Second Intifada and have not been restored. Israelis participated in the annual pilgrimage to the El-Ghriba synagogue in Djerba. Bouden was criticized in May for taking photographs with Jewish pilgrims there

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