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January 31, 2017 3:38 pm

Israeli President Rivlin Speaks With Mexican Counterpart to Patch Up ‘Misunderstanding’ Over Controversial Netanyahu Border Wall Tweet

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Mark Nayman / GPO via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Photo: Mark Nayman / GPO via Wikimedia Commons.

During a phone call with Mexico’s leader on Tuesday, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said he “regretted the misunderstanding” over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial tweet posted on Saturday that appeared to praise US President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on America’s southern border, Hebrew news website nrg reported.

After his conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday, Rivlin tweeted, “It was a pleasure to talk to my friend Pres @EPN of Mexico. Our 2 states have many common interests. Hope to see him soon in Jerusalem.”

According to nrg, Rivlin told Nieto, “Israel and Mexico have warm and good ties that are manifested by close cooperation in a wide variety of areas.”

Mexico’s “magnificent” Jewish community, Rivlin said, plays an important role in Mexican society and serves as a bridge between the two nations.

In his tweet on Saturday, Netanyahu said, “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

Speaking with Nieto on Tuesday, Rivlin said, “The security situation in Israel and the Middle East region led us to make an important decision to build a wall on our border. We have no intention of comparing the State of Israel’s security needs…to the situation of any one of our friends in the world. I’m sure that no one meant to compare Israel’s situation to that of Mexico and that it was just a misunderstanding. The ties we have build are so important and tight, we must leave this misunderstanding behind us. I regret any offense that was caused.”

Nieto, according to nrg, thanked Rivlin for addressing Mexico’s concerns, saying, “I want to go back and make clear that Mexico always has had and always wants to have close relations with Israel. Mexico is completely ready to continue [the relationship], despite the hurt we felt from this tweet.”

On Monday, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray Caso had called on the Israeli government to explain Netanyahu’s tweet. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that Netanyahu was referring to Israel’s “specific security experience” and that he was not weighing in on US-Mexico relations.

Netanyahu said on Monday that his tweet was misinterpreted, and that critics “made mountains out of a molehill.”

“President Trump hailed the fence that was built under my guidance on our border with Egypt,” Netanyahu said at a Likud faction meeting. “He said that it almost entirely halted illegal infiltrations into Israel. And I said in response that he is right.”

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