The Woman Who Refused to Shake President Biden’s Hand
An American President’s visit to Israel is always a special occasion. “The eyes of the world are watching”, Eitan Weiss, the Israeli Foreign Office’s visit coordinator told me. “Everything needs to be perfect, we are planning every move and rehearsing every step according to protocol”, he added while giving instructions to the man who played the president's part in the final rehearsal at Ben Gurion international airport.
President Biden had quite a busy visit to Israel. He visited the Holocaust memorial museum, “Yad Vashem”, and had a very emotional and lengthy talk with two survivors. The president met with the Israeli prime minister and opened the Maccabiah Games (the Jewish Olympics… Yes, it’s a thing). Although it was a visit that bears high stakes with issues like the Iran nuclear deal and although in the U.S everyone was talking about Biden’s fist bump with the Saudi crown prince, the thing Israelis spoke about most was a different handshake, or rather a refusal to shake hands.
The Israeli President’s office knows how to throw a lavish party. A special cocktail was made with the flags of the U.S and Israel uniquely printed. Two of Israel’s leading singers were invited to sing a duet for the president, Ran Danker, and Yuval Dayan. When the song was over, the American president seemed touched. He signaled the singers to come over towards him and stood up from his chair. This is what happened next:
After shaking hands with Danker, the president moved toward Dayan and stretched his hand. Dayan raised her hands and held them together in appreciation, she bowed slightly, and politely refused to shake the president’s hand. The Israeli President overcame a brief moment of awkwardness and explained. President Biden seemed to be taking the whole thing in good spirits, he retracted his hand and continued the conversation.
Yuval Dayan is a 27-year-old singer who originally rose to fame ten years ago as a…