After taking a great deal of flack since his weekend tweet in favor of security walls, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu struck back Monday, saying that the media had blown the story far out of proportion just to make him look bad. Speaking to a meeting of Likud MKs, Netanyahu said Monday that “commentators turned somersaults to create a crisis. Before, these commentators said I had to give up strategic Israeli assets in order to satisfy the previous American president, and now they claim that I hurt Mexico and ruined relations with them.
“President Trump praised the security fence we have constructed with Egypt,” Netanyahu told the MKs. “He said that it had completely stopped the flow of illegal migrants into Israel. I said in response that he was right, and he retweeted what I wrote.”
In the weekend tweet, Netanyahu wrote 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 that he was referring to Israel’s border with Egypt, not the border between the U.S. and Mexico. “The media is trying to divert attention away from the main issue – that the border barrier has been successful, and that the world, especially the President of the United States, understands this.”
The media outcry is part of “Bolshevist campaign and brainwashing attempt against me, which goes along with its attempts to destroy me and members of my family. The Israeli media has been responsible for – there is no other term for it – a flood of fake news about me and family. They seek to pressure the State Attorney to recommend that I be charged, and there is no limit to their efforts. Why are they doing this? Because from the early days of the state, the left has undemocratically controlled the media and other key institutions.”
On Monday, the Mexican Foreign Ministry reiterated its opposition to the Netanyahu comment, saying that it would be “appropriate” for Netanyahu to apologize. “The tweet was aggressive and offensive,” the Foreign Ministry said. “Israel needs to clarify its stance. An apology would be appropriate in this instance.”
In a statement over the weekend, the Ministry expressed its “profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment” over the comment.”Mexico is a friend of Israel and should be treated as such by its Prime Minister,” the ministry said, noting Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray had only on Friday expressed his deep affection for Israel in an event marking International Holocaust memorial day.”