Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL
Netanyahu surveys construction work on the fence between Israel and Jordan in the Arava valley, February 9, 2016.

The Mexican Government was “absolutely shocked, repelled and disappointed” by a Tweet posted on Saturday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “regarding the construction of a border wall,” the Mexican government told Israel’s ambassador to Mexico City. “Mexico is Israel’s friend and should be treated this way by the prime minister,” said a harsh announcement issued by the Mexican foreign office – especially in light of the fact that only this past Friday, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray expressed his deep solidarity with Israel.





The Netanyahu tweet, which so thoroughly emulated President Donald Trump’s style, it may have actually been written (or dictated) by him, said: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.” That first-person reference from Netanyahu is not normally used by Israeli politicians, who often prefer first-person plural for reasons of culturally preferred modesty. Also, the term “illegal immigration” is an American transplant. In Israel the term most often used is “infiltrators.”



Things started to get rough in Jerusalem, according to Ynet, when the foreign ministry was receiving panicky messages from heads of the Jewish community in Mexico. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon quickly followed the PM’s tweet with his own, saying: “@IsraeliPM referred to our specific security experience which we are willing to share. We do not express a position on US- Mexico relations.”

And Israel’s ambassador to Mexico Yonatan Peled tweeted (in Spanish): “You can’t compare the Egyptian border to the Mexican-American border. Our closed border was constructed to prevent terrorism.”



But Dan Shapiro, who until January 20 was the US Ambassador to Tel Aviv, wrote a in a succession of tweets Saturday: “@netanyahu’s top aide’s told me a key goal in Trump’s era was keeping bipartisan support for Israel. Now this? Israel’s challenges with Sinai border not similar to US border. Their solution (a fence, not a wall) works for them, would not for us. Hard to explain this intervention on a hotly debated issue in domestic US politics. Unless this endorsement is Trump’s demand of Netanyahu for something Netanyahu wants, the quid pro quo. But for what?”


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