“It’s good to get away from Congress,” the president said to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, provoking a throaty laugh from his counterpart.

The joke was not the only moment of levity Obama and Netanyahu shared in the welcoming ceremony.

Netanyahu joked that he knew of a few bars the two could patronize in Tel Aviv, a reference to an interview Obama gave in which he said he wanted to wear a fake mustache and mingle with regular folks during his trip.