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20 Aug, 2019 05:39

‘No disrespect & good PR’: Netanyahu explains wife’s blunder at Ukraine welcome ceremony (VIDEO)

The wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has landed in hot water in Ukraine after she threw a piece of bread – part of a welcoming ceremony – on the tarmac, forcing the Israeli leader to apologize for the blunder.

The centuries-old Slavic tradition of greeting honored guests with bread and salt was violated by the first lady during the welcoming ceremony in Kiev. The Netanyahus, apparently unaware of the local custom which requires dignitaries to accept the offer of peace by nibbling on a piece of bread dipped in salt, seemed visibly confused when they were handed the offering.

Eventually, the prime minister grasped the idea of the traditional welcome and ate a piece of bread while giving another to his wife, Sara. However, she apparently was not paying enough attention to the ceremony, as she immediately threw it on the ground.

Whether the gesture was intentional or not is hard to tell, but that did not stop some Ukrainians from demanding that her name be placed on the infamous Ukrainian Mirotvorets (Peacekeeper) ‘hit-list,’ which urges nationalist ‘patriots’ to hold ‘enemies of state’ accountable for their misdemeanors. 

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While some saw the incident as a grave insult to the dignity of the country, Ukraine’s President Volodymir Zelensky downplayed it – especially since it wasn’t even the most awkward moment of the day. 

The Israeli prime minister was greeted by Zelensky with a small military parade, where he used the official greeting “Glory to Ukraine,” to which his loyal troops gave the regulation response, “Glory to heroes.”  This call was widely used by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and its militant wing Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during WWII, as they pursued their vision of a nation state through allying with the Nazis and exterminating Poles and Jews.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, said that this incident with his wife drew media attention to his “historic” visit to Ukraine, which would otherwise be barely noticed.

“Mrs Netanyahu never intended to show disrespect for Ukraine. It is total nonsense,” he said, emphasizing that his wife had even donned clothing in the colors of the Ukrainian flag – all out of respect for the host nation.

I doubt this historic visit would have gotten this media upgrading without the bread incident.

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