President Obama was heckled during his speech to Israeli students Thursday morning. The President's stop at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem is part of a larger Middle Eastern tour that began in the country Wednesday.
Obama was heckled while speaking to the students about the need for peace between Israel and Palestine. He mentioned meeting young Palestinians who "weren't that different from your daughters and sons" when he was interrupted by an angry heckler screaming in Hebrew.
The heckler interjected, yelling about Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American intelligence analyst who was caught spying for Israel in 1987 and has served an unprecedented 28 years behind bars in North Carolina. It's assumed the man was demanding his release, according to a White House pool report, and the President characteristically acknowledged him.
"This is part of the lively debate that we talked about— this is good," Obama told the crowd, who responded with raucous applause. He also followed it up with good-natured joke, referencing the tendency for crowds in the U.S. to also heckle him.
"I have to say we actually arranged for that because it made me feel at home," the President said. "I wouldn't feel comfortable if I didn't have at least one heckler."
It isn't the first time the President has been heard joking during his Middle Eastern tour. While meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv Wednesday, Obama was caught poking fun by a microphone.
After Netanyahu greeted him while coming off the plane, Obama joked that it's "good to get away from Congress," unaware that the mic heard him over the welcoming music. Republican House Speaker John Boehner responded later that day.
"So much for the charm offensive," Boehner told Jake Tapper of CNN, referring to Obama's attempt to meet with Republican leadership. "I'd rather be heckled than ignored. Or as I like to say, you only tease the ones you love."