Israel’s president told his Mexican counterpart on Tuesday that he was “sorry for the hurt” over a tweet in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to praise US President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall on the Mexican border.
In a tweet on Saturday that drew a rebuke from Mexico, the right-wing Netanyahu wrote: “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
Netanyahu had earlier sidestepped Mexico’s demand for an apology and echoed previous Israeli explanations – rejected as insufficient by Mexico’s foreign minister on Monday – of his remarks on Twitter. He said his comments did not refer to ties between the United States and its southern neighbour.
The office of President Reuven Rivlin, whose post is largely ceremonial, issued a statement taking a more conciliatory line.
“I am sorry for any hurt caused as a result of this misunderstanding, but we must remember that we are talking about a misunderstanding, and I am sure that we can put the issue behind us,” Rivlin was quoted as telling Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mexico’s foreign ministry acknowledged Rivlin’s apology.
The ministry said Pena Nieto told Rivlin the tweet had upset Mexico and its Jewish community, before adding that Mexico wanted to maintain its friendship and cooperation with Israel.