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March 14, 2013

Obama on cafes in Israel and fake mustaches

President Obama -- who last visited Israel as a mere U.S. senator -- returns next week as the leader of the free world -- but told Israel's Channel 2 he'd love to just be able to blend into the crowd.

"I'd love to sit at a cafe and just hang out," he said, asked if there was anything he'd like to do in Israel, but can't. "Sometimes I have this fantasy that I can put on a disguise and wear a fake mustache" and wander into Tel Aviv, to a university and speak to some students "in a setting that wasn't so formal."

Still, on this trip, Obama said, according to the Times of Israel, that he’s going to try to find opportunities to interact with Israeli people and that the lack of freedom, is "the toughest thing about being president."

Asked what took Obama "so long" to visit Israel as president, he noted the U.S. had had some "big crisises in the U.S. and a lot of domestic work." But he insisted he had worked to "shape probably the closeest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries than we've ever seen."

ma also said he has no plans to release Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a prison sentence for spying for Israel. Influential Israelis plan to call for Pollard's release on the visit, but Obama said Pollard "committed a very serious crime" and Obama has to follow the law.


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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