Issues & Insights

WATCH: Biden’s Embarrassing Handshake Flub That Everyone Missed

‘Biden shakes hands with the air … again” is the label on a video clip of President Joe Biden after he receives the Presidential Medal of Honor from Israeli President Isaac Herzog at an event in Jerusalem on Thursday.

After shaking hands with Herzog, Biden turns and appears to extend his hand again to shake … with nobody. This is the second time Biden has made this odd move. Back in April, he did the same thing, and the clip went viral enough that the “fact-checking” press had to rush in to defend Biden, saying he was simply gesturing to the audience.

This time, there is no audience, just a couple of empty chairs.

It’s not entirely clear from the video why Biden extends his hand like this. It almost appears as though he’s giving himself stage directions, as in “now head over this way, Mr. President.”  

Whatever Biden was thinking, it’s clear that he is incredibly enfeebled, as he shuffles stiffly over to his seat, with Herzog literally guiding him and pointing at the chair where Biden is supposed to sit.

Click the video below to watch the clip.

It is an embarrassing moment for Biden, and a troubling one for the nation, given that our enemies are no doubt paying close attention to this buffoon, even as our domestic press covers for him.

But that’s not the most embarrassing handshake flub at this event.

After carefully making his way down to his chair, Biden smiles – as though happy with his achievement – and then he and Herzog watch a pop duet sing a Hebrew rendition of “Let it Be.”

At the end of the song, they walk over to the singers, and Biden shakes hands with Ran Danker (forgetting that he’d promised to forgo handshakes while in Israel because of COVID).

Then he reaches out to shake Yuval Dayan’s hand. But she refuses to reciprocate. And Biden is left hanging. Click the video below to watch that.

Why would she do that?

Don’t look to the American media to note what happened, let alone explain it.

For that, we have to turn to Jewish news sites.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that Dayan “is famous in Israel in part for becoming more religiously observant, embracing the principle of shomer negiah, a prohibition on opposite-sex touching that some Orthodox Jews believe is required. The prohibition is rooted in the idea that any touch can lead to sexual impropriety.”

“I made sure to notify everyone in the president’s office that I am shomeret negiah,” she said, according the JTA report.

So, what? Nobody told Biden this? Nobody instructed him to respect her faith?

Or did they, and he forgot? Or did he remember and is just a creep? Is this an example of White House incompetence compounded by Biden’s increasing senility?

In any event, this is a far more telling flub than Biden appearing to try to shake hands with thin air. And if Biden’s name were Donald Trump, you can bet that everyone in the world would be talking about this right now.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • I’m shomeret negiah as well, and speaking from that perspective … well … it just makes me sick how Israel’s “leadership” (a class as morally and intellectually bankrupt as their counterparts in these United States, and indeed the entire Western world) fawns on the US president and government in general no matter what their policies are vis-a-vis Israel, the Middle East, etc. This is not the behavior of a sovereign nation, but of an abused spouse. Just saying.

  • I’m a Jewish male-and must admit I’m neither Shomer or “Shomeret negiah.” However, it is hard not to admire the grace that the lady singer displayed when Pres. Biden attempted to shake her hand.
    I guess, the best we can say for the Pres. is that at least he didn’t, after trying to shake her right hand, try to shake her left. Also, I guess we should thank God that he didn’t try to “sniff” her hair.

  • It looks like the singer extends her hand before Biden extends his.

  • Wow! Are we now becoming like the left where every minor move is cause for a complete article? Let’s not lower the standards of important news to cover and this ain’t it.

  • The media have to cover for these flubs. It’s either that or admit to several years of journalistic malpractice and perfidy.

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