President Obama was heckled Thursday during a speech to an audience that included scores of university students in Jerusalem.
About 15 minutes into his remarks, a man standing in the crowd started shouting in Hebrew. Citing a reliable Hebrew speaker, the White House pool reporter said the shouting was about Jonathan Pollard, an American who was found guilty of spying for Israel and is serving a life sentence for the crime.
Mr. Obama took the interruption in stride.
“This is part of the lively debate we talked about,” he said. “This is good.”
As the shouting continued, Mr. Obama added: “You know, I have to say, we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home. You know, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.”
Despite petitions and protests by some Israelis and even some pleas from a few Israeli leaders, Mr. Obama has said he doesn’t intend to release Pollard — that the Israeli agent would have to go through the normal legal processes.
According to The Jerusalem Post, at least two ministers mentioned Pollard to Obama when they greeted him at the Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday — Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat.
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Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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