WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump retweeted praise from a pro-Israel Twitter account run by a haredi Orthodox journalist.
The Twitter account, named Israel & USA Forever, posted a photo of Trump flanked by two American flags and the Statue of Liberty, one hand raised in a V for Victory sign and saying “President Trump, thank you for fighting for us.”
The composite photo, which is widely available, was among a number of similarly generic flattering photos of Trump posted by Israel & USA Forever in reply to an early morning tweet by Trump attacking an ESPN broadcaster who had called him a white supremacist.
The Israel & USA Forever account crossposts with Yanki Farber, who describes himself in his Twitter biography as the foreign news reporter for Behadrei HaHaredim, a news site that roughly translates from Hebrew as “Among the Haredim.”
Farber, in an interview, said he runs the Israel & USA Forever account with a friend. Subsequent to Trump’s retweet, he posted on his personal account, “When President Trump retweets your second account, it’s a reason to celebrate.”
“A few months ago, my friend and I decided we needed to support Trump like he supports Israel,” Farber told JTA. “The account was only going to be Trump, Trump 24 hours.”
Farber lives in Bnei Brak, a haredi suburb of Tel Aviv. A friend called to tell him that Trump had retweeted the account’s tweet.
“I was on the street” in Bnei Brak “and I started jumping up and down. People were looking at me.”
Some of the tweets on the account repeat some of the more marginal theories embraced by some Trump followers. On Monday, the account retweeted a tweet purporting to favorably compare first lady Melania Trump’s legs to those of her predecessor, Michelle Obama. The Obama photo captioned “Michelle” in scare quotes and featured a man’s legs, a reference to the conspiracy theory that Michelle Obama is transgender.
Asked about the retweet, Farber said it was inappropriate and said his friend likely retweeted it, not fully understanding its meaning.
“I would never retweet such a thing,” he said. “To support someone is good, but not to attack. I’m going to tell my friend to only retweet good about people.”