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Photo shows Biden kneeling to respect Israeli president’s aide

July 8, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Photo shows President Joe Biden kneeling down to the Israeli president, “pledging unconditional support to Israel.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Multiple media outlets wrote about the photo, which shows Biden kneeling before Rivka Ravitz, chief of staff for the Israeli president, after learning she had 12 children.

THE FACTS: On June 28, Biden met with outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the White House, where Biden assured Israel that he will not tolerate a nuclear Iran,The Associated Press reported.

A photo of Biden kneeling during the meeting with Rivlin and Ravitz circulated on social media with a false caption.

“Biden Kneels Before Israeli President; Pledges Unconditional Support to Israel,” states an Instagram post that misrepresented the photo. The false post also circulated on Facebook.

Haim Zach, a press photographer for the Israeli government, took the photo. Zach told the AP in an email that Ravitz is ultra-Orthodox. When Biden reached out to shake her hand, she didn’t reach back because she doesn’t shake hands with men. Zach said Biden then knelt and told Ravitz that as a Catholic man he wanted to show his admiration to her as a mother of 12.

During the meeting with Rivlin, Biden underscored his support to normalize relations between Israel and countries in the Arab and Muslim world. Biden also said his administration would resupply Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which was drained during the recent conflict in Gaza, the AP reported.

A White House briefing issued after the meeting reads: “President Biden conveyed his unwavering support for Israel’s security and his commitment to deepening the cooperation between the two countries across all fields.” The statement did not use the phrase “unconditional support.”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536