Vice President Joe Biden invited Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli to address Congress despite calls for Biden to keep a lower profile.
Refaeli accepted the invitation and spoke on March 2, one day before Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress and warned about the danger of the proposed deal to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The Refaeli speech added additional tension to the already strained ties between Netanyahu and President Barack Obama over the Israeli premier’s speech.
Israeli leaders have offered little public comment on the Refaeli speech, which earned rare bipartisan support. During the speech, Democratic and Republican leaders repeatedily gave standing ovations.
Prior to the speech, political insiders said Netanyahu was in a no-win situation: Stay silent and media attention and lawmakers could focus on Refaeli rather than Netanyahu. Push Refaeli to cancel the speech and Netanyahu could again be accused of putting politics above the best interests of the Jewish state.
“President Netanyahu is a great leader and an important ally of the United States,” said former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner before the speech. “But let’s be serious. Bibi or Bar? I just hope she’s wearing a swimsuit.”
Biden, who was traveling overseas when Netanyahu addressed Congress, made clear he wouldn’t be leaving until after the Refaeli speech. A reliable source for awkward moments, Biden extended the invitation not long after U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s swearing-in ceremony, when Biden placed his hands on Carter’s wife’s shoulders and then smelled her hair and/or whispered in her ear.
“I said to Joe, ‘Play it cool for a while. You’re creeping everyone out,’ ” said Obama. “Then he goes and invites Bar.”
Woody Bernstein is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner and has taken fire in helicopters in almost every battle since the War of 1812.
*This article is part of the Exponent's Purim shpiel edition.