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.
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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.