Israel has a new resident, and his name is Barack Obama.
The man converted to Judaism, moved to Jerusalem, and changed his name to Barack Obama so that he can "speak out on issues much like the American president," according to the Times of Israel.
After a two-month process, a special committee at the Interior Ministry approved Mark Hardie’s request to change his name to that of the current US president. He said his lawyer in the United States is working to have his name legally changed in the US to Barack Obama as well.
"I left out the middle name" — Hussein, he said, because it didn’t jibe with his Jewish character. Hardie said he changed his name so that he could have a platform to speak about issues, such as the peace process and the ultra-Orthodox draft. By changing his name to Barack Obama it would allow him "to speak out in support of Israel" and unite the Jewish people, he said.
"I want to help build a strong Israel," Obama said.
Hardie underwent a Reform conversion to Judaism in 1995 and an Orthodox one in 1997. Three years later he moved to Israel and served in the IDF.