(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reached out Tuesday to his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to mend ties over a controversial tweet from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“President Trump is right,” Netanyahu had tweeted Saturday night. “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
Following the tweet, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing its “deepest dismay, rejection and disappointment” with Netanyahu’s statement.
In his conversation with Peña Nieto, Rivlin praised the close ties between the Jewish state and Mexico, and clarified that Netanyahu made no intentional comparison between Israel's security situation and the discourse over a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
"The security situation in Israel and in the Middle East pushed us to make the important decision of building a wall in our midst. We have no intention of comparing Israel's security situation and needs with the situation of any of our worldwide allies,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin added that he regrets “any damage caused by this misunderstanding,” and that he hoped to put the matter to rest.
Peña Nieto responded by thanking Rivlin for reaching out to discuss the issue, saying that “the clarifications imparted during this correspondence will help our nations mend our ties, as I will make sure to pass your messages to the people.”
Netanyahu also addressed the issue Tuesday at a cybersecurity conference, saying that “he did not comment about U.S.-Mexico relations. We've had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico.”