Mexico summons Israeli envoy over Netanyahu wall tweet


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Mexico summoned Israel’s ambassador for a meeting with its foreign minister over a tweet by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen as supporting President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall at the Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants.

On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray called on Netanyahu to apologize for the tweet, Haaretz reported.

“We hope that the Israeli government will have the sensitivity to correct Netanyahu’s statement,” said Videgaray, who will meet with the Israeli diplomat Monday evening.

The summons, which the Foreign Ministry of Israel on Monday called an invitation, comes a day after Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “The Foreign Ministry expressed to the government of Israel, via its ambassador in Mexico, its profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s message on Twitter about the construction of a border wall. Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister.”

On Saturday morning, Netanyahu said on Twitter that “President Trump is right.”

“I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Netanyahu said in a tweet that featured the American and Israeli flag icons. The White House later retweeted the message.

Following Mexico’s criticism of Israel, the Prime Minister’s Office and Israel’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement to clarify the original tweet, saying that Netanyahu “was addressing Israel’s unique circumstances and the important experience we have and which we are willing to share with other nations. There was no attempt to voice an opinion regarding U.S.-Mexico ties.”

Deri tweeted in Hebrew and Spanish on Sunday: “I just now spoke with PM Netanyahu on the need to continue warm relations between Israel and Mexico. The PM told me that Israel will not interfere in the dispute between the US and Mexico on funding the fence. We will continue to strengthen the relations with Mexico in which much of the Jewish people live in dignity.”

On Sunday, Deri posted a tweet in which he commended the prime minister for clarifying his message about the proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

At the start of a weekly Likud faction meeting on Monday, Netanyahu reiterated that his tweet did not have anything to do with Mexico and that it was a response to Trump’s praise of Israel’s border wall during a television interview on Fox News.

Netanyahu said the media furor over the tweet is no surprise.

“The media is left wing, mobilized on a Bolshevik hunt [against me], [dedicated to] brainwashing, and character assassination against me and my family,” he said, according to The Times of Israel reporter present at the meeting.

Netanyahu accused the media of providing a “flood of fake news,” and said it is pressuring the attorney general  “to indict me at any price,” referring to a reported four investigations currently open against him.

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