Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shook hands at his Tuesday meeting in Jerusalem with US official Brian Hook, the Trump administration’s pointman on Iran, violating the social distancing rules the premier himself has been championing for several months.
Realizing his mistake, Netanyahu said he had been “swept away” by the friendship with the United States, as both he and Hook cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer in front of the cameras.
“I was so swept away by the strength of our friendship that I grasped your hand,” Netanyahu told Hook at the end of the media briefing. “So now we’ll do this because we’re committed to the corona regime — and to our friendship.”
Netanyahu then bid farewell to Hook via an “elbow shake,” while Hook wasn’t wearing a face mask.
“This is as far as we go,” the premier said.
A photo of the handshake quickly circulated in media reports and on social media, with many commenting that it was hard to imagine Netanyahu shaking the hands of his Israeli political allies, such as Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
As the coronavirus outbreak was gaining steam, Netanyahu on March 4 called on the public to avoid shaking hands and adopt other greeting methods that don’t involve touch.
Earlier this month the premier lamented that the public wasn’t adhering to the rules as a second wave of infections began.