(JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the pro-Trump mob violence that engulfed the U.S. Capitol, as did other Israeli leaders, but hours later Thursday released another statement praising Trump.
Neither statement mentioned Trump’s role encouraging the mob.
“American democracy has always inspired me,” Netanyahu said in his initial statement alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is in Israel on a visit. “Lawlessness and violence are the opposite of the values we know Americans and Israelis cherish. The rampage at the Capitol yesterday was a disgraceful act that must be vigorously condemned.”
Later, however, Netanyahu lauded Trump for facilitating normalization agreements recently between Israel and four Arab countries. Netanyahu and Trump have had a close relationship during the past four years and the prime minister generally is careful not to criticize the president publicly.
“I want to thank President Trump and all of you in the administration for all you have done and are doing for peace,” Netanyahu said. “You’ve made a real difference, achieving one breakthrough after another, bringing the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan into the circle of peace.”
Netanyahu’s recent election campaigns have included large banners featuring photos of the prime minister with Trump, and his current Twitter banner shows Trump as well. Trump has granted several of the Netanyahu government’s wishes, including moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, among others.
Among other Israeli leaders to condemn the mob violence was Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said “the photos from Washington hurt the heart of anyone who believes in democracy,” according to The Jerusalem Post.