Western Wall 're-election' photo request was a 'joke,' Mark Adler says
Conservative MP tells reporters comments overheard at holy site were 'tongue-in-cheek'
Mark Adler, the Conservative MP who cited "re-election" when he pleaded for a photo with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in front of Israel's Western Wall, says he was being tongue-in-cheek.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, one day after he was captured on tape urging Harper's staff to get him in front of the wall with the prime minister for a photo, Adler said he was joking.
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"You guys don't get a joke, huh?" he said to reporters travelling in the Middle East with Harper.
"It's all said tongue-in-cheek," he added.
"Tongue-in-cheek, guys, come on."
Adler had a brief exchange with reporters, lasting under 30 seconds, before telling them he was being called away.
The day before, Adler was caught on microphone asking Jeremy Hunt, one of Harper's staffers, whether he could get a photo with Harper in front of the wall, a holy site for Jewish prayer.
"Jeremy, Jeremy," Adler said. "Can we get in?"
"No," Hunt replied.
Adler was undeterred.
"This, it's the re-election. This is the million-dollar shot," Adler said.
The MP then asked whether Hunt could get Harper over to shake his hand once he was done at the wall.
While Hunt's ultimate response wasn't caught on tape, it doesn't appear Adler got his wish. He later tweeted a photo showing himself and Harper amid a crowd leaving the wall.
Adler is part of Harper's official delegation to Israel and tweeted that he was going to an official state dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that night.
He also tweeted about his trip to the Western Wall.
"Incredible experience at the [Western Wall] – one of the most important sites for Jewish people in Canada and around the world," he wrote on Twitter.
Adler is the MP for Toronto's York Centre riding, which counts 21,310 Jewish people among its 113,457 residents, according to 2011 Statistics Canada figures.