A violent sandstorm that kicked up in Jerusalem on the last day of Mr. Obama’s trip grounded President Obama’s helicopter Friday, making it unsafe for Mr. Obama to fly to Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem.
It’s the second transportation mishap of Mr. Obama’s three-day historic trip to Israel. Before the president’s arrival, Mr. Obama’s steel-plated limo, known as “The Beast,” broke down and the Secret Service had to replace it.
During the morning, Mr. Obama toured Yad Vashem, Israel’s museum dedicated to the Holocaust, and the skies were clear.
But within a few hours, biting winds and flying sand made helicopter travel impossible to Bethlehem, about a 30-minute drive from Jerusalem. Mr. Obama’s 30-car motorcade was then forced to drive at a snail’s pace through the hilly roads and then clear a checkpoint to get to Bethlehem, where he visited the Church of the Nativity, believed to be the site of the Jesus’ birth.