President Barack Obama was about 15 minutes into a major speech—a plea for Middle East peace—at the Jerusalem International Convention Center when a heckler shouting in Hebrew interrupted him.
“It made me feel at home,” the president quipped.
Obama had just said that “given the ties between our countries, I believe your future is bound to ours” when the yelling began, prompting people in the audience to try to shush the culprit and then to boo him.
The president playfully put his hand to his left ear as though to hear better and later shaded his eyes as though to see the heckler.
“This is part of the lively debate that we talked about. This is good,” Obama declared, prompting many in the crowd to applaud and ultimately to give him a standing ovation.
“I have to say, we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home,” the president joked. “You know, I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I didn’t have at least one heckler.”
A pool report from Politico’s Josh Gerstein said a man standing near the press platform in the back left part of the room was shouting in Hebrew. “A reliable Hebrew speaker seated near pool says the shouting was about Pollard," Gerstein added, referring to convicted spy Jonathan Pollard. "We presume calling for his release. Pool couldn’t see what happened to the heckler."
Obama is no stranger to heckling—far from it. He famously faced an outburst from Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina (who hollered “You lie!” at the president) as well as an interruption from a reporter for the conservative Daily Caller website.