(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
With a mini-diplomatic crisis with Mexico brewing as a result of his Saturday night tweet about the US wall with Mexico, Prime Minister Benjamin hunkered down on Monday by blaming the 'leftist media' for distorting the intent of his tweet.
Netanyahu, speaking at the Likud faction meeting in the Knesset, said that US President Donald Trump had during an interview praised the wall Israel built along the border with Egypt.
“He said that it stopped almost completely illegal infiltration into Israel, and I said in response that he was correct,” Netanyahu said. “And in response, he retweeted what I said.” And from that, he continued, pundits “made mountains out of that molehill in the media."
“President Trump is right,” Netanyahu tweeted Saturday night. “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” At the end of the tweet were icons of an Israeli and an American flag.
It did not take the Mexican Foreign Ministry or the local Jewish community long to react to that tweet. Even before pundits began writing about the tweet and its impact on Israeli-Mexican relations, the Mexican foreign ministry released a statement conveying its “deepest dismay, rejection and disappointment” over the twitter message.
On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray called on the Israeli government to clarify Netanyahu's remarks.
Representatives of the Mexican Jewish community, which rarely takes public issue with Israel, also slammed the tweet.
Netanyahu told the Likud faction that the same analysts who made a big deal over his tweet were the ones who had earlier said that he should have given up vital Israeli security assets to ensure a good relationship with former US president Barack Obama “And now they're saying that I insulted Mexico, that I destroyed the relationship with them,” he said.
Netanyahu claimed that his tweet was misinterpreted by the media, explaining that "President Trump hailed the fence that was built under my guidance on our border with Egypt. He said that it almost entirely halted illegal infiltrations into Israel. And I said in response that he is right. And in reaction to my comments he retweeted the things that I said. Analysts made mountains out of that molehill in the media."
The premier also told Likud ministers that he believes that the disproportionate reaction to his tweet was the direct result of a media bias against him and blamed the media for being too affiliated with the political Left.
"I'm not surprised by this," he said. "The Leftie media is recruited to this Bolshevik hunt, brainwashing and a character assassination against me and my family. It's happening every day and every night. They're creating a barrage of, there is no other word for it, 'fake news' against us."
Netanyahu brushed off accusations that said that in his tweet he hurt the good diplomatic relations Israel has had with Mexico. "Who was even referring to Mexico? We had good relations with them and will continue to."
Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.