Israeli officials were livid Monday after MK Oren Hazan pushed his way through the line of dignitaries at Ben Gurion Airport to snatch a selfie with US President Trump.
“It’s a real embarrassment,” one senior Israeli official fumed in a private conversation. “He should be sanctioned over this.”
Hazan, a troublemaker freshman lawmaker from PM Netanyahu’s Likud party, was not supposed to be standing in the line of people shaking Trump’s hand, but somehow managed to make his way into the line.
He later posted the picture on his Facebook page with the caption, “Thank you Mr. President — it was my pleasure!”
After greeting Trump, Hazan fiddled with his phone as the US president waited patiently. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached out and tried to move Hazan’s arm, but to no avail.
Hazan — no stranger to blatant publicity grabs — later said that his smartphone had temporarily jammed.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said only senior officials were invited to the tarmac to greet Trump.
“Unfortunately, a number of people who were not included on the list of senior staff snuck into the handshake row and despite the entreaties of the Foreign Ministry staff, refused to leave the line,” Nachshon said in a statement, without naming Hazan.
“I told Trump that they say I’m the Israeli Trump, I told him how excited I was, and that I was a fan of his from the start and then I told him, ‘They need more people like us,'” Hazan told the Ynet news site moments after the incident.
“And then I just added, ‘What do you say — can we do a selfie? And he said go ahead,'” said Hazan, who only follows one account on Twitter — Trump’s.
He admitted that Netanyahu was less than thrilled, but, he added, Trump waited “and the embarrassing thing was that my phone just got stuck.”
“It was my hutzpah. Even when my telephone got stuck, I insisted, I hoped, I restarted it,” he said. “[Trump] was super patient. He waited until I’d sorted the camera out. We took the picture, and I have to say — for me, and I think, also for him — it was a historic moment.”