Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) found himself trapped between a rock and a hard place on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference.
Steinitz was set to meet with the Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, but he never showed up, according to a Haaretz report.
The Italians were furious and Gentiloni’s people registered a complaint with Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
It turns out that Steinitz was about to go to the meeting, but when we got up to leave, US Vice President Joe Biden began speaking at the podium.
After Biden had previously announced that he wasn’t going to be there for Netanyahu’s speech in Congress, Steinitz was worried that if he walked out, it would look like Israel was purposely snubbing the US Vice President, and that would cause yet another major crisis in already fragile Obama-Israel relations.
Steinitz made the hard choice, and stayed put.
Steinitz afterwards apologized profusely to the Italian foreign minister, explaining that he didn’t want his stepping out to look like retaliation against Biden. The Italians understood the problem, accepted his apology, and agreed to set a time for another meeting.
Whew. Crisis averted.