President Barack Obama began chatting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the Israeli Army band played The Star Spangled Banner at the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport Wednesday before remembering to put his hand over his heart.
Netanyahu also turned to Obama with a few words beforehand, and it appeared that the two leaders would be gabbing with each other instead of standing quietly during the American National Anthem.
After Obama solemnly put his hand over his heart, he kept in there during the beginning of HaTikvah, a remarkable honor to a foreign country. However, after a few seconds, he remembered to remove his hand and stand at attention.
Afterwards, he shook hands with dozens of well-wishers, most of whom he probably does not even know, but his outgoing personality seemed to make everyone feel he was receiving a personal response.
The two chief Rabbis of Israel, Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger and Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, also welcomed President Obama.
President Shimon Peres told Obama, “Welcome home.”