The Conservative MP who begged for a “million-dollar shot” with Prime Minister Stephen Harper at a Jewish holy site in Jerusalem says he was joking.

Mark Adler, who travelled to Israel with Harper along with other politicians, was caught on microphone begging to get a picture with the prime minister in front of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

As Harper solemnly observed the wall while cameras flashed, Adler was heard asking an aide: “Can I get in?”

When his request was denied, Adler said: “It’s the re-election! This is the million-dollar shot!”

When reporters asked him about those comments Wednesday, Adler said: “You guys don’t get a joke, huh? It was all said tongue-in-cheek.”

Pressed for more, Adler repeated: “It was tongue-in-cheek guys, come on,” before walking away.

Adler represents Toronto’s York Centre riding.

The parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Deepak Obhrai, defended the MP on Tuesday, saying it was only “natural” for Adler to want a picture with Harper at the holy site because his riding has a large Jewish population with a strong connection to Israel.